GENEVA (Mar. 24)
Israel today was admitted, for the first time, to full membership in the Afro-Asian bloc among the 122 countries represented here at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which convened for a three-month session here, with more than 1,500 delegates in attendance.
The Afro-Asian bloc, formed at the United Nations in New York in 1955, was dominated for years by the anti-Israeli Arab states. Only in the last three or four years, since many new African states were admitted to UN membership, did the Africans take over leadership of that bloc. Now, for the first time, Israel has become a full-fledged member of the bloc, with equal rights.
The conference, which opened here yesterday, is considered of extreme importance by Israel, which has been very active in extending technical assistance and other aid to the underdeveloped lands in Africa and Asia.
Members of the Arab bloc, encouraged by the fact that an Egyptian, Abdel Monemel-Kaissouny, was elected president of the parley, were trying hard here today to dislodge Israel from its membership in the bloc, which consists of 62 nations. However, Ambassador Moshe Bartur, Israel’s permanent representative here, was fighting the behind-the-scenes move.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Pinhas Sapir, arrived here today to head Israel’s large delegation as chairman of the group. He is scheduled to address a plenary session of the conference Thursday, when he will outline Israel’s policies regarding world organization of trade for the benefit of underdeveloped lands.