GENEVA (Sep. 23)
Israel and Egypt early this morning concluded negotiations on the protocol implementing the Sinai disengagement agreement. The head of the Egyptian delegation Gen. Taha el Magdoub signed for his country while Israel’s Mordechai Gazit and Gen. Herzl Shaffir only initialed the agreement for the time being. It is believed that the agreement will be signed by Israel within a few days after the U.S. Congress approves Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s undertaking and guarantees and Egypt has given concrete proof of its goodwill.
(In Washington the State Department said today that Israel’s initialing of the agreement is “essentially a procedural question” as far as the United States is concerned and “not an obstacle to implementation” of the second-stage Sinai accord.)
The agreement signed at the Palais des Nations this morning is believed to consist of two parts; an official protocol and secret clauses which take the form of a “Chairman’s Statement” made by the conference’s chairman. UNTSO chief Ensio Siilasvuo, behind closed doors.
The secret clause is believed to cover such items as the rights and the restrictions of Egyptian civilians in the buffer zone, which Egypt considers sovereign territory. The Egyptian delegation adamantly refused to affix its signature to a document which would curtail its rights on what it declares to be “national soil.”
CONCESSIONS BY BOTH SIDES
The secret clauses also reportedly cover Egyptian restrictions on resettlement of the buffer zone and on the circulation of Egyptian technicians and civilians in that area. The text of the protocol was not made public but conference sources say that it contains far-reaching concessions made by both sides.
Diplomatic circles say, however, that Israel, apparently feeling the brunt of American pressures, made the most of them, constantly giving “sings of goodwill” throughout the talks. The main Israeli concessions, according to these sources, are:
Agreeing that all items dealing with restric- tions in the buffer zone form a separate agreement, not part of the protocol and apparently only vaguely guaranteed by the United States; allowing Egypt to station armored carriers in the zones of restricted armaments which adjoin the buffer zone. The armored carriers are manufactured in the Soviet Union and are equipped with powerful guns which could have far reaching effects in case of a renewed conflict; permitting Egypt to station more than the 200 policemen which Israel first suggested in the Abu Rodeis area.
It is believed that the protocol permits Egypt to station some 800 “policemen” which could actually be crack troops or commandos. The main concession was to permit Israel to initial the agreement instead of signing it. It is not known whether the count-down for Israel’s evacuation will start with today’s ceremony or from the date on which Israel actually signs the agreement.
PREDICT PERIOD OF STABILITY
Israeli sources point out that the agreement. If carried out faithfully by both sides, will not only establish a period of stability and tranquility on Israel’s border with Egypt but will also “neutralize” Egypt for some months.
It is unofficially reported that Israel intends to evacuate its troops from the disengagement territories only at the end of the five-month period provided by the basic agreement for the Israeli withdrawal. This five-month period falls at a time when pressures are expected to increase on Israel to negotiate with Syria, and would ensure, these sources say, Egypt’s relative neutrality in this process.
The five-month lapse of time does not apply, however, to the Abu Rodeis area where Egyptian technicians will arrive two weeks after the count-down and which Israel must leave within six weeks from that date.