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Israel and Syria Resume Talks Today on Border Situation

February 16, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Preparations were made today for the fourth session of the extraordinary meeting of the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission which is scheduled to open tomorrow at Mahanayim on the Israeli side of the border. The fourth session originally had been scheduled for February 9 but was postponed at the request of Syria with Israeli concurrence. The two countries agreed to the first meeting of ISMAC in eight years at the urgent request of United Nations Secretary-General U Thant when border clashes reached a danger pitch last month.

Israeli sources said that as far as they knew, the meeting would take place as scheduled, and that Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of staff of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization would again preside. Doubts about the meeting had been raised by Syrian insistence, at earlier session, on bringing up issues outside the single agenda item–cultivation rights in the demilitarized zones on the borders.

There have been two border incidents since the talks began on January 28 and in both cases they were provoked by Syrian efforts to send farmers into the zones to cultivate land there. A Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the incidents and on whether Israel would raise that issue at the meeting tomorrow.

Gen. Bull left Jerusalem for Tiberias this evening to prepare for the meeting. Walworth Barbour, the United States Ambassador to Israel, visited the Syrian border yesterday and talked with settlers at Tel Katzir and Kurzin, who described some of the problems of life on the tense border. He was accompanied by senior members of the American Embassy staff.

Officials reported today that children of the Dan settlement, scene of the second Syrian incident, yesterday spent four hours in shelters when Syrian fire hit buildings in the settlement. The firing developed when Syrian soldiers sought to prevent Israelis from forcing Syrian farmers to leave plots they were trying to cultivate in the demilitarized zone.

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