After finalising details of the two-stage Israeli withdrawal from Suez to new peace lines in Sinai on Thursday (January 24), the Army Chiefs of both the Egyptian and Israeli armies -- and the commander of the United Nations force supervising disengagement -- said they hoped they were witnessing a historic step towards peace in the Middle East.
SCU Injured being transferred from Israeli ambulance to Egyptian ambulance (2 shots)
CU UN officer speaking
SCU Gamasy speaking in Arabic. Reporters ask at 30 feet "Are you happy with the agreement?" An aide replies "He is happy. He is smiling."
SV UN Troope
GV General Elazer walks from tent towards microphone
SIILASVUO: "I would hope that history will record one day that the initial steps towards understanding, reconciliation and peace in the Middle East began here at Kilometre 101."
ELAZAR: "Well gentlemen. Finally we have finished the negotiations on the tactical details of the disengagement agreement. I have to state that it was a good atmosphere, and we managed to reach an understanding on all the details. And from tomorrow we shall start implementation of the disengagement agreement. We hope this will be the first step towards a better period between our two countries and a first step towards peace between our nations."
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Background: After finalising details of the two-stage Israeli withdrawal from Suez to new peace lines in Sinai on Thursday (January 24), the Army Chiefs of both the Egyptian and Israeli armies -- and the commander of the United Nations force supervising disengagement -- said they hoped they were witnessing a historic step towards peace in the Middle East.
While a timetable of disengagement was being negotiated in the now famous Green Tent a Kilometre 101 on the Cairo-Suez road, outside six wounded Egyptian prisoners-of-war were being repatriated. They had been captured in skirmishes following the ceasefire of October 22nd.
The Army Chiefs emerged from the negotiations tent after four-hours of talks. The plan they agreed calls for the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank of Suez to be completed by February 21, and for units to have been pulled back to the Mitle and Giddi passes in Sinai by March 5. Disengagement was scheduled to start the following day. But even as the talks were concludes the first Israeli vehicles were recrossing the Suez Canal.
The first reaction to Thursday's agreement came from the Finnish Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force, Lieutenant General Ensio Siilasvuo.
The Egyptian Chief of Staff, Major-General Mohamed Abdel Ghani Gamasy, speaking in Arabic, said he endorsed the words of General Siilasvuo. "Are you happy with the agreement?" asked a journalist in English. "He is happy," replied an aide. "He is smiling."