Israelis, Egyptians Begin to Work out Disengagement Details

Israeli and Egyptian military teams met at this UN checkpoint today to begin a week of talks to work out details of the disengagement agreement signed here Friday. Although the weather outside alternated between sandstorms and torrential rains, the atmosphere inside the UN tent was good, Israel’s Chief of Staff Gen. David Elazar told reporters.

He said that next Friday Israeli forces will start their evacuation of the southern section of the area they hold on the west bank of the Suez Canal –three days before the disengagement agreement officially goes into effect. That will open the Suez-Cairo road to Egyptian traffic and relieve the town of Suez and the Egyptian Third Army Corps on the east side of the waterway which have been encircled by Israeli forces since mid-Oct. Elazar said that Israeli forces will complete their evacuation of the west bank within 28 days from Jan. 25 and the Egyptians will simultaneously thin out their forces on the east bank. The entire disengagement process is scheduled to last 40 days.

Elazar said that one of the subjects discussed at today’s meeting was the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers killed during the Yom Kippur War in areas now held by the Egyptians. The meetings will continue tomorrow. Elazar and his Egyptian counterpart, Chief of Staff Gen. Mohammed Gemassy, will meet again Thursday to sum up the arrangements made during the week by their aides.

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