Britain, Sweden Condemn Air France Hijacking and Holding of Hostages

The United Kingdom and Sweden strongly condemned today the hijacking on June 27 of an Air France air bus and the subsequent holding of hostages at Entebbe Airport. They called on the UN to adopt measures against terrorism and hijacking.

Addressing the Security Council, which resumed debate this morning on the Israeli rescue operation in Uganda, Ambassador Ivor Richard of Britain said his government vigorously condemns “this act of air piracy.” He called on the international community to make clear its “condemnation and abhorrence of such evil actions.” He said Britain is pleased by the Israeli rescue operation that saved the lives of so many innocent hostages.

Terming the hijacking of the Air France plane “criminal,” and pointing out that the Ugandan government did not fulfill its duty toward the hostages, Swedish Ambassador Olof Rydbeck said, nonetheless, that the rescue raid violated the sovereignty of Uganda.

DRAFT RESOLUTION SUBMITTED

Meanwhile, the United States and Britain jointly submitted a draft resolution to the Council, condemning “hijacking and all other acts which threaten the lives of passengers and crew and the safety of international civil aviation,” and calling upon all states “to take every necessary measures to prevent and punish all such terrorist acts.” The draft also calls for reaffirmation of “the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.” The resolution would have the Council deplore all loss of human life that resulted from the hijacking of the French aircraft.

Diplomatic sources pointed out that the resolution as it stands could only get, at most, seven votes, counting on Japan and Panama to support it. This would be short of the nine affirmative votes needed for a resolution to be adopted.

Sources here said that the debate is likely to end in a stalemate since a counter-proposal of the African group, calling on the Council to condemn Israel, is also short of the nine required votes and is certain to be vetoed by the U.S. The Africans were still discussing their draft resolution this afternoon and had not submitted it to the Council.

In today’s session of the Council, the British Ambassador devoted an important segment of his speech to the fate of Mrs. Dora Bloch, the 75-year-old missing Israeli hijacking victim. Charging that Uganda’s Foreign Minister “made some extraordinary and unfounded allegations about the case of Mrs. Dora Bloch,” Richard stated:

“There is no doubt that she was still there (in the hospital at Kampala) after the Israeli action. This is confirmed by the fact that she was also seen in the hospital by a member of the French Embassy.” Richard read to the Council a statement made today by Britain’s Minister of State in the House of Commons, in which he said that Mrs. Bloch was taken from her hospital room on July 4 and “she is no longer alive.” The U.S. and West Germany were scheduled to address the Council late this afternoon.

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