Taba Arbitration Process Begun

Israeli and Egyptian delegations exchanged documents ratified by their respective governments at a brief meeting Monday to set in motion the arbitration process to settle their border dispute over Taba.

The meeting took place at a villa in the village of Genthoux, about 10 minutes’ drive from Geneva. The international arbitration panel will hold its first meeting, largely ceremonial, at the Geneva Town Hall Wednesday morning. The delegations will return to Genthoux for further talks on procedural matters, which are expected to be finished by Thursday. The panel will then adjourn and reconvene in Geneva in five months.

Robi Sabel, head of the Israeli delegation, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the atmosphere at the intitial talks was friendly and cordial. The arbitration panel consists of three distinguished international jurists. Judge Gunnar Lagergren of Sweden presides. His associates are Dietrich Schindler of Switzerland and Pierre Bellet of France.

The Israeli and Egyptian delegations will each be assisted by counsel from outside the Middle East. Israel has selected Prof. Eli Lauterpacht, a British expert in international law, to present its claim to the Taba strip. The Egyptian claim will be argued by Sir Ian Sinclair, a former legal advisor to the British Foreign Ministry.

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