Eban Tells Mexicans That Arabs Will Not Make War on Water Issue

Abba Eban, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, reaffirmed here today the fact that, in withdrawing Jordan River waters for irrigation purposes, Israel would restrict the amounts to the limitations set more than 10 years ago by the plan drafted by the late Eric Johnston, then a special emissary for President Eisenhower. The technical aspects of that plan had been accepted at the time by both Israel and the Arab states, but were rejected by the Arabs for political reasons.

Mr. Eban said Israel would proceed with its huge irrigation project despite threats by the Arabs, stating that he considered the risk of an Israeli-Arab war on the issue as “illusory.” He made these statements, among others, at a press conference which he conducted in Spanish. He is here on a state visit.

Noting that Mexico would attend the latest of a series of conferences by “non-aligned nations,” scheduled to be held in Cairo, he said he expected Israel’s friends at that parley to prevent adoption of any resolution attacking Israel’s honor or position; He made it clear he considers Mexico a friend of Israel.

At another meeting, with the staff of the Israeli mission to Mexico, Mr. Eban said Israel was increasingly aware of the importance of its relations with Latin America. He is scheduled to visit other Latin American countries on his current tour. Mr. Eban was reported to be “pleasantly surprised” on the closeness of views he has found here as between Mexico and Israel, especially in regard to Middle East problems, technical cooperation and issues before the United Nations.

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