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State Dep’t. Continues to Welcome Europeans in the Sinai Force

The State Department refused to say today whether the U.S. was urging Israel not to reject the participation of Britain, France, Italy and The Netherlands in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) which will patrol Sinai after Israel’s final withdrawal next April.

Department deputy spokesman Alan Romberg would only repeat that the U.S. “warmly welcomes” the decision announced yesterday by the four European Economic Community (EEC) countries to join the MFO. He refused to comment on the accompanying statement by the four countries which included a reaffirmation of support for the EEC’s Venice declaration that calls for the association of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Middle East peace negotiations.

Romberg also “warmly welcomed” the announcement by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser that his country would join the MFO now that the Europeans have agreed to participate. “Their (Australian) participation will further enhance the organization’s ability to carry out its functions,” Romberg said.