What agreements were negotiated to end the Yom Kippur War?
The Yom Kippur War, also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, was a war between Israel and an alliance of two Arab states, Syria and Egypt. The war which started on October 6, ended on October 25, 1973 by the intercession of Soviet Union and the US who provoked the UN Security Council resolutions of the series 338-340.
A cease-fire agreement between Egypt and Israel was signed formally on November 11, 1973 in a tent which was erected at the “Kilometer 101” checkpoint located on the Cairo-Suez road. Since the signing of the 1949 armistice agreements, this marked the first agreements between Israel and any Arab country.
In December 1973, a Peace Conference was held in Geneva where the invitees were Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt and was a joint effort by the Soviet Union and the United States to effectuate any concrete Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. This conference was recognized by UN Security Council Resolution 344 and was based on the Resolution 338, calling for a “just and durable peace”. However, the conference was adjourned on January 9, 1974 as Syria refused attendance and also because PLO was not invited.
Kissinger, US Secretary of State took up the use of direct diplomacy with Israel and the Arab states involved in the opposition. The first fruitful result was an initial military disengagement agreement, which was signed by Israel and Egypt on January 18, 1974. This agreement, which later came to be known as Sinai I, was given the name of ‘Sinai Separation of Forces Agreement’. Under the terms of the agreement, Israel agreed to pull back its forces from the areas West of Suez Canal which it had occupied since the cease-fire in October 1973. Moreover, the Israeli forces were also pulled back from an area of several miles, an area where the security zones for Egypt, UN and Israel were created, each roughly six miles wide.
This agreement proved beneficial for Egypt as it regained its control over the western and eastern banks of the canal which all fell under the Egyptian territory. Although Israel gave over 12-13 miles of the eastern bank of the canal, it still occupied the rest of Sinai.
An end to eighty one days of artillery battle over Golan front was put with another diplomatic strike by Kissinger who brought Israel and Syria to sign the Agreement on Disengagement on May 31, 1974. The agreement resulted in Syria gaining back the control over areas which were occupied by Israel in October 1973 war and also from the war in 1967. A further agreement came in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 350, signed on May 31, 1974. According to the agreement, Syrian civilians would be allowed to return to their respective restored areas from where they fled during the hostilities.
For the issue of Sinai front which was still unresolved, another Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement was signed in Geneva on September 4, 1975 which was given the name of the ‘Sinai Interim Agreement’, later changed to Sinai II. This agreement led Israel to withdraw from another 12-26 miles and a new buffer zone for UN was created at the vacated area. The Israeli Prime Minister, Rabin agreed to sign the agreement mainly to please the US, to put a wedge between the alliance of Egypt and Syria, and not with much intention of reconciliation.
There were some other features of the Egyptian-Israeli agreement as well in which both parties agreed to not use or threaten to use forces or military blockades; follow ceasefire justly; make arrangements for the annual renewal of UNEF mandate; permission from Egypt to let the non-military cargoes transporting between the two places pass through the Suez Canal; and, an agreement that the US will provide around 200 men to work as civil technicians at the early-warning stations for the areas of Mitla and Giddi passes.
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