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Holland Says It is Ready to Participate in Sinai Force on the Basis of the Venice, Declaration

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A Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday that Holland will inform Israel this week of its readiness to participate in the Sinai peacekeeping force, but on the basis of the 1980 Venice declaration of the European Economic Community (EEC) ministers which Israel has rejected because it called for the Palestine Liberation Organization to be associated in the Mideast peace process.

The spokesman said that Britain, France and Italy would also be sending notes to Israel which, while not identical, would not differ from their earlier positions. Reports from Jerusalem yesterday said the Israeli Foreign Ministry received letters from the four powers. According to observers here. The Hague believes that in light of the latest European statements, the next move will be up to Israel.

Sources here indicated that the European notes were timed to coincide with Secretary of State Alexander Haig’s visit to Israel today. Although European participation in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai is still not final, the Dutch government is seeking volunteers for the force.

The Defense Ministry has circulated a letter to Dutch troops asking if they are willing, in principle, to serve in Sinai. The survey is expected to indicate how many volunteers can be expected among Dutch soldiers who are mainly conscripts. Parliament insists that if the government decides to participate in the MFO, the Dutch contribution should consist as far as possible of volunteers. It would number between 50-100 men.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian and left-wing circles in the army are organizing opposition to Dutch participation in the Sinai force.

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