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U.S. Says Discussion of Untso Role Has Been Going on Four Months

July 26, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department said today that the possibility of using the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (UNTSO) as a replacement for the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Sinai has been under discussion for four months. But, officials said, the U.S. had not received Israel’s views opposing UNTSO until last Sunday.

Department officials said the next few weeks in which it will take UNEF to withdraw will be used by the parties to attempt to reach an agreement on a UN force for the Sinai. They stressed that if UNTSO was used, it would not just be larger but would have better equipment, giving it the mobility needed to carry out the task required by the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. State Department officials said this will be discussed with Egypt and Israel and expressed confidence again, as they did yesterday and Monday, that the issue can be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

The officials pointed out that UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim would have the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of UNTSO. In the case of belligerency, the UNTSO force would cease to function.

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