Ben-gurion Leaves for Burma; Stresses Israel-burmese Friendly Relations

Prime Minster David Ben-Gurion left today for an official state visit to Burma during which he will confer with Burma’s Premier U Nu. Finance Minister Levi Eshkol will serve as Acting Premier during Mr. Ben-Gurion’s absence. In a prepared statement before his departure, the Premier declared:

“I am leaving today for a new country but not a strange one; In all of Asia, there is no more friendly nation to Israel than Burma. Israel and Burma are two old countries with old histories which renewed their independence in 1948. Both are democratic and both follow the same principle in foreign relations–promoting friendly relations and mutual aid with all peace-loving countries irrespective of their internal regimes and without injuring the interests of any other country; loyal to international cooperation based on United Nations principles. Burma had proved her adherence to this policy when she promoted friendly ties with Israel, while, at the same time, maintaining friendly relations with the Arab countries.”

Noting the recent election of Burma’s United Nations delegate U Thant to the post of UN Secretary General, Mr. Ben-Gurion recalled the visits to Israel by Premier U Nu and Burma’s Chief of Staff Ne Wing. In 1959, he said, it was President Ben-Zvi who visited Burma. “Now,” he said, “it is my turn. I am sure I shall meet true friends of Israel in Burma.” The Premier was seen off at the airport by all members of the Cabinet. He is expected to arrive in Burma tomorrow.

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