Israel and Egypt signed a protocol agreement in Geneva on Tuesday (23 September) implementing the new interim peace agreement between the two countries.
GV Israeli delegation PAN TO Egyptian delegation around table with United Nations chairman
SV U.N. spokesman speaking (SHOTS CONTINUE OF DELEGATES LISTENING OVER SPEECH)
CU ZOOM OUT TO GV Israeli delegates signing
CU ZOOM OUT TO GV Egyptian delegates signing PAN TO Israeli signing
TRANSCRIPT: SIILASVUO: "I am aware that owing to special considerations the delegation of Israel will today only initial the protocol. I am confident that this procedure will not materially affect the agreement reached in the working group. I will now call on the representatives of Israel and Egypt to sign and initial the protocol of the agreement and the maps attached there to."
Initials BB/2220 JA/AH/BB/2230 EDITOR'S NOTE: This film is serviced with a statement by the Finnish Chief Coordinator of the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Middle East who presided over the negotiations, Lieutenant General Ensio Siilasvuo. The statement is made in English and a transcript follows.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Israel and Egypt signed a protocol agreement in Geneva on Tuesday (23 September) implementing the new interim peace agreement between the two countries.
The agreement came after two weeks of hard negotiating culminating in two successive all night meetings in the United Nations European office.
Under the agreement Israel will withdraw its troops behind strategic mountain passes in the Sinai desert peninsula, while Egypt advances several miles to the edge of a new enlarged buffer zone controlled by the United Nations.
Israel will also hand back to Egypt the Abu Rudeis oilfields on the Suez Gulf which it captured int eh 1967 war.
The handover of the oilfields is to start within two weeks and, under the terms of the protocol, must be completed in eight weeks.
The troop movements to new positions must be made within five months.
Israel withheld its full signature..which will bring the agreement into effect...until the United States Congress approves the stationing of American civilian technicians at electronic early warning system posts in the newly proposed buffer zone.
Instead of signing the agreement the Israeli delegates merely initialled the documents.
However, the United Nations spokesman presiding over the signing of the agreement said he was "confident" that the Israeli refusal to completely sign the documents would not "materially effect the agreement".
The initialling of protocol agreements is a diplomatic tradition signifying that the country which initialled the documents recognises that the negotiations are ended and the text of the agreement reached is correct.
Several nagging problems kept the negotiations going for thirty hours over the past two days.
These included the status of nomadic bedouin tribes who live in the newly proposed buffer zone, the number of Egyptian polices allowed in the southern sector around Abu Rudeis and the refusal of the Israelis to completely sign the document.