TEL AVIV (Jun. 19)
Egyptian officials attending today’s meeting of the joint Israeli-Egyptian military committee in Beersheba reported that the remains of 11 of the 23 Israeli soldiers listed as missing in action since the Yom Kippur War were found recently in the course of development work along the Suez Canal. Israel had requested permission to search for the MIAs.
As a result of the new information, the Israeli Army chaplaincy corps is expected to make arrangements immediately for the transfer of the remains for reburial in Israel. The transfer will be conducted with full military honors by Israel and Egypt at the El Arish checkpoint in Sinai.
Today’s meeting was conducted in a friendly atmosphere. Gen. Dov Sion, the senior Israeli delegate, said the first stage of Israel’s with drowal from Sinai has been completed without a hitch and the talks are now dealing with the second phase–withdrawal from the oil strip in western Sinai on the Gulf of Suez. The 25 Egyptian journalists who accompanied the Egyptian delegation to Beersheba spent the day sightseeing. They visited Ben Gurion University and the Institute for Desert Research at Sdeh Boker. They also visited the Research and Development Authority at the university where they were shown the results of studies in desert agriculture and industrial, commercial and architectural concepts.
AUTONOMY AGENDA TALKS
Meanwhile, Israeli and Egyptian officials met in Herzliya today to discuss the agenda for the next session of the autonomy talks between Israel, Egypt and the U.S. The talks are set to resume next week there.
Yohab Wahabeh, head of the political planning department of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and Amri Moussa, head of the Foreign Ministry’s United Nations desk met with Meir Rosenne, legal advisor to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Gen. Abraham Tamir, head of the Defense Ministry’s planning department. Rosenne was accompanied by his aide, Ruth Lapidoth, who is his designated successor. Rosenne has been appointed Israel’s next Ambassador to France.
The two Egyptians arrived at Ben Gurion Airport this morning in an Egyptian plane which flew the international air corridor–over the Mediterranean–rather than the shorter direct route between Cairo and Tel Aviv over Sinai. Although the new air corridor has been declared open, it has yet to be used by other than top level official travelers between the two countries. Wahabeh said on his arrival that the Americans will participate in the autonomy discussions as full partners. This is one of many issues on which the Egyptians and Israelis disagree.