JERUSALEM (Jul. 22)
Observers here expressed satisfaction today with the Security Council’s appeal to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat last night to agree to renew the mandate of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) which expires July 24. There was no immediate official comment, however, on Sadat’s television speech in Cairo tonight in which he said he has not reached a decision on the Security Council’s request and would not announce one until after consulting with his national security advisors.
(There was also no immediate official response at the UN in New York. A spokesman said the UN had no response since Sadat had not reached any decision.)
“We are studying the situation from all its aspects,” Sadat said. He also observed that without Egypt’s approval, the UN peace-keeping force could not possibly remain in Sinai.
(A UN spokesman said in New York today that the Security Council was awaiting Egypt’s formal reply to its appeal and expected it to come in the form of an official message from Cairo. The Council voted 13-0 last night to request Egypt to agree to an extension of the UNEF mandate, Cairo announced last week that it would not agree to an extension unless the Security Council took decisive steps to expedite an Israeli-Egyptian interim agreement in Cairo which would represent progress toward peace.)
According to reports reaching here, the Security Council’s request, contained in a letter to Sadat from Eugenio Plaja of Italy, this month’s President of the Council, was prepared with the understanding that a favorable response would be forth-coming from Cairo. The letter stated that continuance of UNEF would contribute “to creating an atmosphere conductive to progress toward an agreement on a just and lasting peace in the area.”
The fact that Sadat said he had not yet reached a decision on the Security Council’s request implied that a decision also has not been reached by Cairo on whether to accept Israel’s latest proposals for an interim agreement. Egypt made the extension of the UNEF mandate contingent on progress toward peace. Reversal of its decision not to continue UNEF could mean that the Israeli proposals provided the basis for Egypt to do so without losing face, observers here said.
The Israeli proposals were conveyed to Cairo this week by U.S. Ambassador Hermann Eilts and Egypt’s response is expected to be made privately to Washington before any public announcement. Sadat’s speech tonight gave no hint as to what that response might be.