Syria and Israel on Friday (31 May) signed a disengagement of forces agreement which has been called a potential turning point in Middle East history.
GV PAN European headquarters, U.N.
SV U.N. flag flying
SV INT General seated
SV Egyptian (right) and Syrian delegates arrive
SV Israeli delegates arrive and take seats
SV Gneral Siilasvuo speaks
SV Documents, Israelis and Syrians
SV Israeli delegates signing
GENERAL SIILASVUO: "Owing to an exceptional feat of diplomacy unparalleled in the annals of international relations the foundation has been laid on which a reliable structure could be built and strengthened. We all owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have devoted enormous energy, thought and time in negotiating this agreement. Although the present agreement is not a peace treaty no-one can deny that it represents a milestone in she unceasing efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East."
Initials BB/0146 RS/PN/BB/0210
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Background: Syria and Israel on Friday (31 May) signed a disengagement of forces agreement which has been called a potential turning point in Middle East history.
But it was only signed after the Syrian delegate refused to put his name to the first ceasefire pact with Israel for 25 years until about 100 watching journalists had been made to leave.
The proceedings in the European Office of the United Nations in Geneva, which lasted barely 30 minutes, were the result of "a feat of diplomacy unparalleled in the annals of international relations", according to General Ensio Siilasvuo, U.N. Suez Supervisory Force Commander.
The accord and related documents provide for a Golan Heights ceasefire, a buffer zone manned by a United Nations force of 1,250 man, an early exchange of prisoners and a thinning out of troops and arms on both sides.
At the signing the Syrian and Israeli delegations entered separately by different doors, without salutes or handshakes and barely looked at each other. They sat at a table about 10 feet (three metres) apart.
Syria has said repeatedly that the agreement only constitutes a step towards total Israeli withdrawal form territories occupied in 1967 and 1973.
The Israelis say they ar giving up a 800 square kilometre (300 square mile) piece of land captured in October and also chunks of the 1,150 square kilometre (442 square mile) territory won in the 1967 war, This includes the former garrison town of kuneitra which has now almost been flattened by artillery shells.
Friday's proceedings were held within the framework of the Israeli-Egyptian military working group set up by the Geneva Middle East Peace conference. The group is due to reconvene on Saturday to discuss the details of disengagement.
SYNOPSIS: The European Offices of the United National in Geneva on Friday -- scene of the historic signing of a disengagement of forces agreement between Israel and Syria. Its instigator Dr. Henry Kissinger called it a potential turning point in Middle East history.
The Egyptian and Syrian delegates arrive for the signing of what is the first ceasefire agreement between Syria and Israel for twenty five years.
The agreement provides for a Golan Heights ceasefire, an early exchange of prisoners, a buffer zone manned by United Nations troops, with a thinning out of troops and arms on both sides.