Three Frenchmen, who planned to sail down the Suez Canal in a rubber dinghy as a peace gesture, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday (11 April), sailing the first civilian 'vessel' into Port Said -- the northern entry to the Canal -- since the 1967 war.
SV INT French Consul Dumas (sun glasses) shakes hands with three Frenchmen
SV Three canoeists
SV Egypt Information Minister Hattem enters room and shakes hands with Debos, Escatafal & Ribeaud
CU Minister talks to Frenchmen
SOUND STARTS: "Go to the hotel and...."
SV Debos seated for press interview
SOUND CONTINUES "Answer to my question...."
CU PAN FROM Ribeaud to Debos speaking
SOUND ENDS: "...to talk about the peace."
HATTEM: "Go to the hotel and have a rest. Answer to my question. Are you still planning to transit the canal?"
DEBOS: "The objective of our trip is now we are the first boat in Port Said. It's not a question now to go to Suez or not because this....from the military authorities we understand if it's possible nor not. But (it's still) our objective if it's O.K. And now all the world knows why we've come here. Not to make show on the canal, but to talk about the peace."
Initials BB/GR/AW/BB/1830 GR/AW/BB/1812
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Background: Three Frenchmen, who planned to sail down the Suez Canal in a rubber dinghy as a peace gesture, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday (11 April), sailing the first civilian 'vessel' into Port Said -- the northern entry to the Canal -- since the 1967 war.
Freelance journalist and expedition leader Paul Ribeaud, radio commentator Alain Debos and cameraman Claude Escatafal held discussions on Wednesday night with Egyptian Minister of Information, Dr. Mohamed Abdul Kader Hattem, and French Consul to Egypt M. Paul Dumas.
Thirty-five year-old Alain Dobos told Dr. Hattem that the group would proceed only if allowed to by the Egyptian military. He added: "Even if we don't go along the canal, we fell that we have already drawn attention to peace and the senselessness of the canal being closed.
The group left Athens on 30th March, but the ship carrying their dinghy dropped them too far from Port Said and the adventurers were swept by rough weather onto the shore of the Israeli-occupied Sinai Peninsula. On April 6th, the Frenchmen were taken to Tel Aviv, where they claimed that the French Embassy tried to dissuade them from continuing the trip. But they left Tel Aviv quietly and sailed into Port Said.
There follows a transcript of an exchange between Egyptian Minister of Information Dr. Hattem and Alian Debos:
SYNOPSIS: In Cairo on Wednesday, the French Consul to Egypt, M. Paul Dumas, met three countrymen with an unusual aim. Freelance journalist Paul Ribeaud, radio commentator Alain Debos, and cameraman Claude Escatafal also met the Egyptian Information Minister, Dr. Mohamed Abdul Hattem. The three Frenchmen have been trying since March to sail their rubber dinghy through the Suez Canal to 'publicise the need for peace in the Middle East.'
After finally reaching Port Said, the adventurers were called to Cairo to answer officials' questions: