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U.S. Role in Sinai Important to Mideast Peace

ID-81-62: Published: Sep 9, 1981. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the U.S. peacekeeping role in the Sinai and presented some of the issues Congress will want to consider in the establishment of the new multinational peacekeeping force.

The United States has played a leading role in preserving the peace in the Sinai since the 1973 war between Egypt and Israel. Through U.S. shuttle diplomacy, Egyptian and Israeli forces were separated with buffer zones; and in 1976, the United States established a civilian tactical early warning system in the strategic mountain passes of the Sinai to monitor adherence to the terms of the Sinai agreements. As a result of a current peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, the United States will deploy armed forces in the Sinai as part of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) to supervise the implementation of the treaty. This deepening U.S. involvement in the Sinai is crucial to the peace process, but raises serious issues for congressional consideration. Congress may want to emphasize that efforts to involve the United Nations should continue. Congress should consider the maximum desirable number of U.S. troops in the Sinai and may want to impose limits on the total U.S. military contribution. Congress may want to consider the need for a periodic review of the authorization for MFO to ensure that the need still exists and is in the best interests of the United States. Congress will want to review MFO operating procedures to ensure that American forces are adequately protected and American rights are upheld. Congress may want to make maximum use of existing Egyptian and Israeli facilities in the region and require the executive branch to establish a focal point within the U.S. Government to manage U.S. participation.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matters for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: Congress may want to require the executive branch to establish a focal point within the U.S. Government to manage U.S. participation in the multinational force and observers.

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should review the multinational force and observers' operating instructions and procedures to ensure that (1) American forces are adequately protected and able to defend themselves; and (2) Congress' rights under the War Powers Resolution are upheld.

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress may want to consider the need for a periodic review of the authorization for the multinational force and observers to ensure that the need still exists and the deployment is still in U.S. interests.

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress may want to emphasize to executive branch decisionmakers that efforts to involve the UN should continue, aimed at eventually replacing the multinational force and advisors with a UN peacekeeping force.

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should consider the maximum desirable number of U.S. troops in the Sinai and may want to impose limits on the total U.S. military contribution.

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress may want to require the executive agencies to make maximum possible use of existing Egyptian and Israeli facilities in the region, including available electric and water utilities, before constructing new facilities. In this regard, it may also be possible to transfer equipment or facilities from the Sinai Field Mission when it terminates.

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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