JERUSALEM (Sep. 24)
Egypt will send its first group of technicians into the Abu Rodeis oil fields on the Gulf of Suez on Oct. 5 under the terms of the protocol signed at Geneva yesterday, it was reliably learned here today. The Egyptian technicians will take an inventory of installations and facilities at the field. Israeli troops will remain there until Nov. 15, when they will transfer the area to the United Nations Emergency Force. A day later, UNEF will hand it over to Egyptian civilian control.
The protocol, it is learned, contains six articles and detailed maps. The articles are: redeployment of forces; arrangements in the southern coastal strip; arrangements in the north (buffer, limited forces zones and U.S. presence); the Israel-Egypt joint commission; and aerial reconnaissance; a general provision stating that the protocol forms an integral part of the interim agreement which comes into force upon its signing.
Israel’s delegation chief, Mordechai Gazit said at the ceremony yesterday in Geneva that Israel was initialing the documents for “authentication.” They will be signed in full once the U.S. Congress approves the American presence in the Sinai passes, he said. He assumed this would be before Sept, 30. If not, the dates in the protocol would be adjusted accordingly.
The implementation, which begins at the Abu Rodeis oil fields in the Ras Sudar area Oct. 5, will end with the final redeployment in the passes area Feb. 22, exactly five months from last Monday, when the protocol was due to have been signed. The area between the coastal strip and the Mediterranean to the north has been divided into six sectors, from which Israel will withdraw at staggered intervals.
ROLE OF UNEF OUTLINED
UNEF will set up checkpoints at the land, sea and air entrance points to the coastal corridor to ensure that only Egyptian civilians enter. There will be up to 700 Egyptian policemen in this area, 500 of them equipped with side arms. UNEF will also guard the entry and exit points, to the buffer zone in the north to ensure that no one enters unless authorized.
UNEF will also escort the Israeli and Egyptian garrisons to and from their respective surveillance stations in the buffer zone: Israel’s at Umm Hashiba and Egypt’s still to be built. UNEF’s jurisdiction extends only to the perimeters of these stations: control and inspection of the stations themselves will be in the hands of the American technicians, Israel and Egypt will each be permitted to have up to 250 men in their respective stations, equipped with side arms and machine guns. They will each have 15 vehicles per station.
The Joint Commission is to meet, under UNEF commander Gen. Ensio Siilasvuo, within a month and thereafter at regular intervals, Each side can also call for a special meeting at any time. The protocol provides that problems are to be discussed by the Commission “in order to reach agreement.” In other words, there is no provision for failure to reach agreement; no provision for a deciding vote by the UNEF chairman as was the case in the pre-1967 Mixed Armistice Commissions.
Israel had strenuously insisted upon this arrangement, believing that the unavoidable need for the parties themselves to reach agreement on problems brought before the Commission–and their inability to turn to the UNEF chairman for a decision–will help foster an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation.