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Former UN Secretary General Says U.S. Justified In Intercepting Plane

October 14, 1985

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ The United States deserves praise for intercepting an Egyptian jetliner carrying hijackers, even though the action was not sanctioned under international law, former United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim said Monday.

He said the decision to send U.S. jet fighters to divert the plane to a landing in Sicily so the four ship hijackers could be arrested was ″justified from the humanitarian point of view.″

″What happened in the Mediterranean is a good example of what can be achieved by strong, active reaction to such incidents,″ Waldheim said.

Waldheim, former Austrian minister who led the international body from 1972 to 1982, said the action taken by the United States ″was not permitted″ under international law.

But because the hijackers were about to elude prosecution, Waldheim said, ″The interception of the Egyptian airliner by U.S. fighters was justified in my opinion.″

Waldheim was in Tulsa to speak in the Tulsa Town Hall series of lectures.

He said he believes the act of piracy has driven a deeper wedge between Palestinian radicals and a more moderate viewpoint represented by Yassir Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

″Arafat wants to begin a new process of negotiations,″ Waldheim said. ″It’s the only way to get us out of the vicious circle that we are in right now.

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