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Syria Wants Soviet Military Personnel on the Golan Region As Part of Disengagement Plan

The Syrian proposals for disengagement with Israel aim at introducing Soviet military personnel into the Golan region, it was learned from reliable sources here today. The sources, privy to the Syrian plan now under study by the care-taker government, said the Syrians oppose Israel’s idea of a buffer zone occupied by the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF)–similar to the one on the Egyptian front. They want instead an unoccupied buffer zone patrolled by UNTSO, the UN Truce Supervisory Organization, which, unlike UNEF, includes Soviet officers.

The Syrians insist that both sides open their lines and positions to inspection by UNTSO personnel, the sources reported. Israel, which is satisfied with the effectiveness of the 7000-man UNEF force on the Suez front, envisions a UNEF force of several hundred to 1000 in the much narrower Golan sector. In any event, Israel is unalterably opposed to any form of Soviet access to its lines or positions.

The sources said the two sides were also “very far apart” on the depth of the proposed Israeli pull-back and on the question of limited forces zones where both sides would reduce their military strength.

TOUGH, PROLONGED NEGOTIATIONS ANTICIPATED

The latest Syrian proposals, presented to U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in Washington over the weekend and conveyed to the government by Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz, were described as different, but not significantly so, from the earlier Syrian ideas. The sources said Israel was not surprised by them and anticipated tough and prolonged negotiations. Nevertheless, Israel does not regard the situation as hopeless and takes the view that Kissinger’s forthcoming visit to the region is worthwhile and by no means doomed to failure.

A difficult factor is mounting Soviet pressure on Kissinger for a Soviet role in the Middle East diplomacy. The Geneva conference will have to be resumed in some form sooner or later, it is felt here. For the present, it has been agreed that U.S. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker will meet with his Russian counterpart in Geneva. But Moscow apparently wants more. If Israeli-Syrian disengagement talks make progress, it is believed that joint military working groups will be set up by the two sides–along the Israeli-Egyptian pattern–which would meet in Geneva to continue the bargaining.

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