The Middle East -- and in the dispute over the Sinai agreement, Israel has rejected Egypt's explanation for an arms build-up in the Sinai desert, which Israel alleges breaches the accord.
SV Israeli Defence Minister Shimon Peres and U.N. General Ensio Siilasvuo seated at table during news conference (3 shots)
CU Peres speaking
SV Peres and Siilasvuo rise and shake hands
PERES: "According to our estimation there are in between 16 to 18 battalions as against the eight which are permitted by the agreement. The U.N. estimate that a number of the battalions is eleven. So, there is a slight disagreement between the U.N. and ourselves about the number. One must say that there is no is agreement about the fact that this represents a violation of the agreement. General Siilasvuo was kind enough to hand over to us the explanation of the Egyptians -- basically a change in the structure of the Egyptian battalions -- but we couldn't take it because we feel certain that Egypt is entitled to reorganise her army in any way she wishes to, but she cannot ignore an agreement which was signed by her and by ourselves."
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Background: The Middle East -- and in the dispute over the Sinai agreement, Israel has rejected Egypt's explanation for an arms build-up in the Sinai desert, which Israel alleges breaches the accord. The year-old agreement, negotiated by United States Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, provides for areas of limited force for both sides, separated by a United Nations buffer zone. Israel has now accused Egypt of dramatically increasing the permitted number of its battalions in the limited zone.
SYNOPSIS: The dispute is being mediated by General Ensio Siilasvuo of Finland, the chief co-ordinator of the United Nations peace force in the Sinai. On Thursday (19 August) he met Israeli Defence Minister Shimon Peres in Tel Aviv to discuss the issue, bringing with him Egypt's explanation. It was all a misunderstanding, according to Egypt, over an internal reorganisation of its battalions. At a news conference, Mr. Peres explained why he rejected the explanation.
General Siilasvuo had similar talks earlier in the week with Egyptian War Minister Abdul-Ghani Gamasy.