Iraqi Ruler Adamant on Kennedy Letter; Anti-israel Boycott Tightened

Premier Kassern of Iraq today told a press conference at Baghdad he would not answer President Kennedy’s message on the Palestine problem. He made clear that Iraq does not endorse the idea of a collective answer by all Arab leaders who received the message.

Premier Kassem said Iraq refused to negotiate about Palestine because it was up to the Arab states to solve the Palestine issue without permitting any foreign country to interfere. He said Iraq would support the Palestinian Arab refugees “with money, men and arms, and political efforts.”

At the same time, in Damascus, Syria, the Arab League announced sweeping new plans to tighten and intensify the Arab blockade, boycott, and embargo against Israel. An announcement by the central boycott office said the tightening resulted from recent developments, including a boycott conference in the Arab sector of Jerusalem.

The new tactics will be aimed at severing Israeli commercial ties in Africa through a joint Arab program. It will feature economic aid to emergent African countries, if such countries reject Israeli help.

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