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U.S. Says Use of Untso in Place of Unef is in Accord with Camp David

July 24, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department asserted today that the use of United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (UNTSO) In place of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) “will be fully in accord with the (Egyptian-Israeli.) peace treaty and the Camp David framework.” Israel rejected the use of UNTSO yesterday and Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin explained today that the reason was that its use was not in accordance with the Camp David agreements and the peace treaty. (See related story from Jerusalem.)

But State Department spokesman Hodding Carter stressed that “the peace treaty calls for a permanent peacekeeping force at the end of the three-year withdrawal” by Israel from Sinai. “In the interim it calls for the UN to establish checkpoints, reconnaissance patrols and observation points in the temporary buffer zone.”

Carter said that UNTSO has always been “considered a viable alternative to UNEF” during the long months of “discussions with all of the parties concerned.” He said. “it is clear to us that UNTSO can do the job.” Egypt has agreed to the use of UNTSO, he said.

Carter stressed that if the UN Security Council does not, as expected, renew UNEF’s mandate by tomorrow, UNEF will be disbanded over a period of several weeks to prevent chaos “We do not believe that the peace agreement would evaporate over a matter which can be so easily solved,” he said. He said he believes the matter will be worked out.

Israel is reportedly concerned that Soviet troops will be part of UNTSO. Carter said there would be no U.S. or Soviet members in the expanded UNTSO force. He also pointed out that Polish, Indonesian and Ghana forces, all from countries which do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, serve in UNEF without any problem. An informed State Department source explained that UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim would form the UNTSO force — a Security Council vote is not needed. UNTSO has been in the Mideast since 1948.

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