TUNIS (Mar. 13)
A call for the Arabs to organize a roundtable conference with Israeli representatives to resolve the Arab-Israel conflict was sounded here by Habib Bourguiba, Tunisian Neo-Destour (nationalist) leader and head of the first Tunisian Government since the accord with France granted Tunisian autonomy. He made the suggestion in an article in “Action.”
The Middle East, said M. Bourguiba, is menaced by a cancer which is eating into its body. The best way to meet this threat, he added, was by means of negotiation. The Arabs, he noted have so far refused to take part in talks because they believe this would amount to recognition of Israel. But, he pointed out, they have already participated in talks on the armistice and related matters. The task for the Middle Eastern nations, the nationalist leader asserted, is to apply all their energies to developing the latent riches of the area and to agree on common irrigation plans for the utilization of the waters of the Nile, Jordan and Euphrates rivers.
Ahmed ben Salah, secretary general of the Tunisian Trade Union Federation, suggested today that Tunis would do well to introduce Israel’s form of cooperative agricultural and industrial development. He was speaking to a group of American radio and newspapermen currently visiting this city.