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Senate Unit Votes to Put Tighter Restriction on U.S. Participation in the Sinai Peacekeeping Force

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted today to put tighter restrictions on United States participation in the peacekeeping force that will patrol Sinai after Israel’s final evacuation next April.

One restriction would limit the amount the U.S. spends for the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) to the percentage agreed upon in the original accord with Israel and Egypt. The resolution appropriates $125 million for the 1982 fiscal year which starts Oct. 1, which is 60 percent of the cost of setting up the MFO and operating it for its first year. Egypt and Israel will each pay 20 percent.

Starting in the 1983 fiscal year, the United States, Israel and Egypt will each pay one-third of the cost of the MFO, now estimated at $35 million each.

Another restriction would limit the U.S. forces in the MFO to participation only in the Sinai patrol and prevent them from engaging in war should one break out in the Mideast. The U.S. is committed to providing 1,000 of the 2,500 troops and civilian observers in the MFO.

The committee also adopted an amendment by Jesse Helms (R. N.C.), to authorize the President to train troops of any country who wish to participate in the Sinai force for that task, Sen. Charles Percy (R. III.) said this was to encourage other countries to participate in the force. As of now, only Fiji and Colombia have agreed to send a battalion each to the MFO.