Egypt and Israel began talks on Tuesday (9 September) in Geneva, Switzerland on implementing their Sinai peace accord.
Egypt and Israel began talks on Tuesday (9 September) in Geneva, Switzerland on implementing their Sinai peace accord. The deliberations were marked by the same stiff courtesy which was a feature of last Thursday's signing ceremony.
The Soviet Union and the United States, although co-chairmen of the Middle East Peace Conference -- under whose auspices the meetings are taking place, stayed away from the 45-minute opening session.
With representatives of the two powers absent, Egyptian and Israeli delegations were alone with U.N. officials for the talks. The discussions are aimed at working out timetables and procedures for Israeli withdrawals behind strategic passes; Egyptian advances; the enlargement of the U.N. buffer zone and the establishment of a series of early-warning stations.
The two delegations, led by Egyptian Major-General Taha El Magdoub and Israel's Ambassador-Designate to France, Mordechai Gazit, faced each other across a U-shaped table.
Lieutenant-general Ensio Siilasvuo, Finnish Coordinator of the U.N.'s Middle East peacekeeping operation, was at the head of the table.
The delegations did not exchange hand-shakes and made no attempt at fraternisation.
General Siilasvuo said the two Middle-East countries had, in signing the accord last Thursday, "demonstrated their determination, wisdom and courage to take risks for peace".
He told the two four-man delegations that, although the agreement had been signed, a whole array of difficulties remained to be tackled. The accord only comes into effect when an implementation protocol is drafted in Geneva.
In an apparent reference to the glacial atmosphere of the opening session, General Siilasvuo said the working groups should try to create a climate "which is most conducive to the search for peace".