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Talks Held on Returning Sinai Oilfields to Egypt in Seven Months

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Members of the Israeli-Egyptian Committee on Sinai Oil met today at A-Tur where the oilfields are located to discuss problems dealing with the return of the oilfields to Egypt in seven months.

Among the questions discussed was whether Egypt would contribute all or port of the $30 million cost of maintaining the Alma oilfield at its present output of 33,000 barrels a day during the transition period. Also discussed was whether the Egyptians would buy the equipment at Alma and how much they would pay for it.

The meeting was to have been held in Tel Aviv. But Premier Menachem Begin Insisted that it be in Jerusalem and the Egyptians refused on the grounds that other Arab states might see this as a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It was then decided to hold the talks at the oil fields.

Meanwhile, in El Arish, a high-level Israeli-Egyptian committee was discussing today the problems of housing, property, agriculture and communications involved in Israel’s transfer of the northern Sinai town to Egypt on May 27. Israelis and Egyptians will work together in maintaining the town’s telephone exchange and water system until they are disconnected from their links with Israel May 25. The local banks are working on exchanging Israeli currency for Egyptian. Local construction workers are, meanwhile, building a new officers club for the Egyptians.

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