First Meeting Held Between Israel-egyptian Joint Committee

The first meeting of the Israeli-Egyptian joint committee was held today in a tent in the United Nations buffer zone between Baluz and Kantara in the Sinai desert. The four-hour session, from which the press was barred, is believed to have dealt with procedural matters related to the future functioning of the joint committee and to implementation of the various clauses of the military protocol worked out by Israeli and Egyptian negotiating teams at Geneva last month.

The Israeli delegation at today’s meeting included Gen. Herzl Shafir and Col. Shimon Levinson, the Israeli liaison officer with the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) and the Red Cross. The Egyptian delegation was headed by Gen. Mouhammed Makhjub. He and Gen. Shafir were both members of their respective negotiating teams at Geneva.

Today’s meeting, which was interrupted only for a lunch break, was chaired by UN commander Gen. Ensio Siilasvuo. The deliberations, which began at 11 a.m. local time, were described as amicable. An honor guard composed of blue-helmeted soldiers of the Swedish UNEF contingent presented arms as the two delegations entered the tent.

No date was set for another meeting, but Siilasvuo has the authority to convene one if either side should request it. The military protocols reportedly discussed today specify that the first area to be evacuated by Israel is the Ras Sudar oil corridor on the eastern shores of the Gulf of Suez which contain the Rae Sudar and Abu Rodeis oilfields.

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