WASHINGTON (Jul. 26)
The State Department said today that the U.S. is continuing discussions at the United Nations to solve the dispute over the decision to employ an expanded United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (UNTSO) force to replace the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in Sinai. The Department’s chief spokesman, Hodding Carter told reporters that he did not foresee any top level meetings on the issue which would take Secretary of State Cyrus Vance or special Presidential envoy Robert Strauss to the Middle East at this time.
The UNEF mandate expired at midnight Tuesday and its replacement by UNTSO was agreed to by the UN Security Council over strenuous protests by Israel. Carter said he has seen estimates ranging from 250-800 men to make up the reconstituted UNTSO force plus additional equipment needed for transport and rapid movement in the region.
U.S. TO SELL JORDAN TANKS
In another development, Carter confirmed today that the U.S. has agreed to sell Jordan up to 300 M-60 A-3 tanks. He said they would be sold to replace, on a one-to-one basis, Jordan’s old N-48 tanks which it is now phasing out. A U.S. official stated that Jordan would probably receive a total of about 500 tanks from the U.S. and some from Britain which has agreed to sell it approximately 275 Chieftain tanks.
The official said the U.S. decision to sell the tanks to Jordan was made with certain military, political and economic considerations in mind as well as the friendly relationship with Jordan that is valued by the U.S. He said the U.S. feels that the balance with other countries in the area will thus be maintained, and, that as Israel, Egypt, the Palestinians, the West Bank and Gaza move into the peace process the value of helping other Mideast countries with their needs will become apparent.