Efforts Continue to Resume Talks

Efforts to get the stalled Israeli-Egyptian cease-fire talks moving continued over the week-end against the background of new shooting incidents on both the Egyptian and Syrian fronts. Two Israeli soldiers were wounded during a four-hour exchange of shell fire and anti-tank missiles which began at 10 a.m. when Syrian forces in the Harfa area opened fire on Israeli positions in the Mazraat Bet Jan area. The shooting continued intermittently until 2 p.m.

One Israeli soldier was wounded Friday when Egyptian troops fired on Israeli forces in the Ismailia region on the Suez Canal. Egyptian forces made several attempts to occupy positions in the no-man’s-land over the week-end. They withdrew to their perimeter after Israeli forces opened fire. A Katyusha rocket shell fired from the direction of the Lebanese border pierced the wall of a house in Kibbutz Dafneh in Upper Galilee last night but nobody was hurt. The shell exploded inside a flat.

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan met in Jerusalem this morning with Gen. Ensio Siilasvuo, commander of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF). Foreign Minister Abba Eban and Israel’s chief negotiator, Gen. Anaron Yariv met yesterday with U S. Ambassador Kenneth Keating at Eban’s Herzlia home. The meeting was attended by other top Israeli officials and senior U.S. Embassy people. Both meetings were part of the efforts being made here to resume the deadlocked talks between Yariv and Egyptian Gen. Mohammed Gemassi which broke down last week at the Kilometer 101 marker on the Suez-Cairo road. The impasse is over the disengagement of forces.

Emerging after a half hour meeting with Dayan, Siilasvuo described their talk as “useful.” He said its purpose had been to explore ways to get the Kilometer 101 talks started again. Dayan said that if Egypt was ready to resume them, Israel would be very willing to listen to every proposal emanating from Cairo and would seek to reach a compromise.

Dayan told reporters later that if the talks were resumed, Yariv had instructions from the Cabinet and would “know how to handle it.” Neither the Defense Minister nor any other official would say whether Yariv had received new instructions. After meeting with Siilasvuo at the King David Hotel, Dayan and Yariv returned to the Premier’s office where the Cabinet was meeting.

At the meeting with Keating, Yariv explained Israel’s proposals for disengagement, which. Egypt rejected, and the Egyptian counter-proposals which Israel refused to accept. A statement issued after the meeting said that “preparations for the Geneva conference” were also discussed but that the possibility of U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger visiting the Middle East before the Geneva parley was not raised.

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