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Resolution 997 and 998


Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 and 4 November 1956, respectively, these resolutions dealt with the Suez War of 1956. They were brought before the General Assembly under the provisions of General Assembly Resolution 377 ("Uniting for Peace") of 1950, which allow urgent matters to be brought there for action in certain circumstances in case of "failure of the Security Council to discharge its responsibilities" (in this case, after a veto by Britain and France; in practice this tactic can work only when it has the support of the United States). Resolution 997 urged all belligerents to observe a ceasefire, urged the parties to the 1949 General Armistice Agreements (Egypt and Israel) to retreat to the armistice lines, and urged the reopening of the Suez Canal.

Resolution 998 provided for the creation of an "emergency international United Nations Force to secure and supervise the cessation of hostilities in accordance with all the terms of [Resolution 997]." A United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF)—the UN's first peacekeeping force—was set up within days and began operation in Egypt on 12 November. At first it had about 6,000 troops (the number was later reduced) from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, Sweden, and Yugoslavia, commanded by a Canadian general. After the withdrawal of British, French, and Israeli troops, completed in March 1957, UNEF was deployed along the Egypt-Israel border until May 1967, when, during the tension that led to the 1967 War, it was withdrawn at the request of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

SEE ALSO Arab-Israel War (1967); Nasser, Gamal Abdel; Suez Crisis; United Nations Emergency Force.

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