In a nationwide television broadcast on Thursday (January 17), President Richard Nixon informed the United States public that Israel and Egypt had reached agreement on a separation of forces along the Suez Canal.
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STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON ON MIDEAST SEPARATION OF FORCES:
"In accordance with the decision of the Geneva Conference, the governments of Egypt and israel with the assistance of he government of the United States, have reached agreement on the disengagement and separation of their military forces. The agreement is scheduled to be signed by the Chiefs of Staff of Egypt and Israel at noon, Egypt-Israel time, Friday January eighteen, at kilometre 101 on the Cairo-Suez road.
Now the announcement we have made today is only a first step. But it is a very significant step. It paves the way for more steps which can lead t a permanent peace. And, I personally shall see that all negotiations, any efforts, which could lead to that permanent peace not only between Egypt and Israel but between the other countries involved, have the full and complete support of the government of the United States."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In a nationwide television broadcast on Thursday (January 17), President Richard Nixon informed the United States public that Israel and Egypt had reached agreement on a separation of forces along the Suez Canal. Simultaneous announcements were made in Tel Aviv and Cairo.
President Nixon hailed the troop disengagement as the first significant stop towards peace in the Middle East. The President said he did not underestimate the difficulties which lay ahead in trying to reach a permanent peace, but pledged the full support of the United States to all efforts aimed at ending the twenty-five years of unrest in the Middle East.
The United States could be proud of its role in the Middle East, the President told the American viewing audience. And, he singled out State Secretary Henry Kissinger, the man who acted as a go-between in the negotiations, for special praise.
"The Middle East", Mr. Nixon warned, "was the area of the world where the great powers could potentially be brought into confrontation."
The agreement calls for Israel to pullback its forces about twenty miles to a hilly area in the Sinai. Egypt agreed to thin out its forces along the Suez Canal and to restrict its heavy armaments in the area. The agreement was signed by Egypt and Israel at kilometre 101 at noon on Friday (January 18).