The United States has launched its latest plan to bring peace to the Middle East.
US Secretary of State William Rogers announced his initiative to encourage the Arabs and Israelis to stop shooting and start talking at a news conference in Washington.
Mr Rogers said he hoped the plan would be carried out under the guidance of United Nations mediator Dr Gunnar Jarring and in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.
The peace effort will attempt to resolve the so-called “war of attrition” which has been raging between Israel and Egypt along the Suez Canal since the Six Day War in 1967.
Recent strategies by the US Secretary of State to end conflict in the region have been rejected by all sides.
Mr Rogers said the objective of the initiative was “to encourage the parties to move to a just and lasting peace”.
He refused to give details of any military assistance which might be offered to Israel or to divulge any further details of the plan.
But the US later confirmed it was pressing for a cessation of hostilities for at least three months and wished negotiations to be based on the UN resolution 242 – passed at the end of the Six Day War.
Under this declaration, Egypt and Jordan should acknowledge Israel’s right to a secure existence behind recognised borders.
In return, Israel should accept the principle of withdrawing from occupied territory.
The Israeli authorities have not commented on the proposals, but Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser is reported to have been scathing of the plans.
Courtesy BBC News
The “war of attrition” halted on 7 August 1970, but guerrilla action by Palestinian activists opposing the peace initiative continued along the Suez Canal.
These actions – including the hijacking of five planes in September 1970 – contributed to the Rogers plan failing.
Egypt and Syria were not able to regain territory they had lost in the 1967 six-day war by diplomatic means and in 1973 launched a major offensive against Israel.
They initially retook key positions lost in 1967, but the Arabs eventually buckled under a sustained Israeli counter-attack.
Most hostilities ceased on 22 October. Both sides suffered very heavy losses.