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UN Charge of Israeli Participation in Lebanon Rally Termed a Mistake

Gen. Ensio Siilasvuo, commander in chief of all United Nations forces in the Middle East, said today that UN headquarters in Jerusalem had made a “mistake” when it accused Israel on Oct. 16 of organizing a demonstration by Christian militiamen in Lebanon against the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the border village of Nakoura.

The accusation, contained in an unprecedented public statement issued to the local and foreign press here, brought an angry protest to Israel from UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim in New York. The UN alleged that Israeli army officers were present and had “fully supported” the demonstration which culminated in the kidnapping of two Lebanese army officers serving as liaison with UNIFIL. Damage was done to UNIFIL property. Siilasvuo told reporters today that he hoped his acknowledgement of the “mistake” would put an end to the entire incident.

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