The Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East, Major-General Ensio Siilasvuo, has said there is now strong hope for a lasting Middle East peace.
GV EXT. UNEF Headquarters in Cairo. (2 shots)
SV PULL OUT Siilasvuo speaks.
QUESTION: "....Having solved the disengagement problem on the Suez front, the priority now of course for the parties concerned is to seek similar disengagement on the Golan Heights on the Syrian front. Could the United Nations help in that area if a similar agreement were reached?"
SIILASVUO: "If and when an agreement is reached, we of course are ready to assist also the Syrians and the Israelis in the Golan area. And I have told the Secretary General that I can from my present establishment also provide troops to be deployed in that area if necessary."
QUESTION: "Would this need, do you think General, an increase in the present authorised strength of 7,000 men or could you do it from the force you already have available?"
SIILASVUO: "I think that we may need a few more troops, especially cignallers' unites and transport units. But it would not mean a big increase in numbers -- a few hundred maybe."
QUESTION: "You have been associated with United Nations' peace-keeping efforts in the Middle East for a very long time General. Looking back after this very long and unique experience are you optimistic about the prospects of a final peace settlement in the Middle East ?"
SIILASVUO: "The first six years after 1967 were rather frustrating, because there was little hope for any progress. But I must say the last four or five months are different, and I see a big change in attitudes and much hope for a final settlement here in the Middle East."
Initials TH/VS 19.12 TH/VS 19.16
IN PRODUCTION NUMBER 2157/74, "EGYPT: UNITED NATIONS EMERGENCY FORCE COMMANDERS SAYS THERE IS NOW STRONG HOPE FOR A LASTING MIDDLE EAST PEACE", THE SCRIPT MISTAKENLY REFERS TO THE INTERVIEWER AS MARTIN BELL. THIS SHOULD READ GORDON MARTIN.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East, Major-General Ensio Siilasvuo, has said there is now strong hope for a lasting Middle East peace.
Speaking in Cairo on Saturday (2 March), General Siilasvuo said the first six years after the war of 1967 were frustrating, because there was little chance of a negotiated peace.
But he said, the prospects for peace had improved considerably in the past four or five months because the opposing sides had both changed their attitudes towards negotiating a final settlement.
General Siilasvuo said the U.N. Emergency Force would assist in any agreement between Syria and Israel over the Golan Heights area.
He was speaking with British Broadcasting Corporation reporter Martin Bell. A transcript of the interview follows:-
Major-General Siilasvuo was appointed Commander of the Middle East Emergency Force by the U.N. Security Council on 12 November last year.
He was formerly the United Nations' Chief Middle East Observer, and the Chief of Staff of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organisation.