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Taba Arbitration Panel Meets, As Sides Try for Compromise

The international arbitration panel on Taba met here Tuesday to receive the final written arguments by Israel and Egypt in their dispute over ownership of the tiny strip of beach on the Red Sea near the Israeli city of Eilat.

The tribunal will visit the Taba area on Feb. 17 and has scheduled oral arguments to begin here March 14.

Efforts are continuing, meanwhile, to persuade both countries to reach a compromise agreement before the dispute goes to binding arbitration.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has learned that Pierre Bellet, the French arbitrator, acting as conciliator, met in Paris three days ago with Robert Sabel, legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and Nabil El-Arabi, Egypt’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, who represents his country in the arbitration proceedings.

The rendezvous was the latest attempt to reach a compromise before the actual hearings. The results were inconclusive, the JTA learned, despite American pressure on both sides.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Israel and Egypt each presented about 200 pages of legal arguments to support their respective cases. Israel also submitted a plastic model of the Taba region and a short video film on Taba. which will be screened at the oral hearings.

When the arbitration panel members visit the disputed area, they will fly there from Cairo and return via Tel Aviv to underscore their neutrality in the dispute.

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