Premier Defends Italy’s Interest in Israel and Arab States

Premier Amintore Fanfani wound up a debate on foreign policy in the Chamber of Deputies last night with an admonition to critics who had accused him of paying too much attention to Israel and the Arab States that they were blind to the facts of history and geography. He indicated strongly that Italy had pursued an active role in the Mediterranean on the direct encouragement of American, Britain, French and German leaders.

Signor Fanfani, in dealing with the recent Mediterranean conference at Florence, stressed that the conference had not been organized by the Italian Government. He referred to the fact that two of the Israeli representatives at the conference had been officials of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“The Arabs raised no objections to the invitation of the Israelis,” the Premier stated. “The objections concerned the official nature, certainly unique at the conference, which the Israeli Government thought appropriate to give to Israel’s participants.”

Signor Fanfani commented on reports of new Soviet loans to Egypt and asked whether “we are still in time to avoid, once again, being supplanted in Egypt by those who would start building dams in order to send technicians and military experts there.” He warned that political problems could not be solved by economic aid alone and said that political solutions with peaceful means and ends must be sought.

Signor Fanfani said his forthcoming visits to Cairc and Tel Aviv would be at a date and under conditions considered most appropriate by the governments concerned “in line with our policy of seeking peaceful solutions.”

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