UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Dec. 2)
Israel told the United Nations General Assembly here today that, now that almost all of Africa’s peoples were independent of colonialism, “the remaining” African nations “should not be denied their right to sovereignty.”
The statement was made by Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Abba Eban, who arrived here last night to take the place temporarily, of the ailing Israel Foreign Minister, Mrs. Golda Meir. It was Mr. Eban’s first address to an Assembly since 1958, when he left the post he had held here for years as Israel’s permanent representative.
Mr. Eban participated in this morning’s General Assembly, which was devoted chiefly to statements congratulating the body’s new president, Alex Quaison-Sackey, of Ghana, and to welcoming three new members admitted officially to the United Nations yesterday. The three are Malawi and Zambia, both in Africa, and Malta.
The Israeli Cabinet member noted that he was here in the Assembly seven years ago when Ghana was admitted to membership, and he had welcomed that new member on behalf of the Israel Government. He congratulated both Mr. Quaison Sackey and his Government upon the election to the presidency of the Assembly’s 19th regular session.
“Ghana’s admission,” said Mr. Eban, “had marked a cross-road of history.” This trend, he emphasized, should be advanced by the granting of sovereignty and subsequent admission to UN membership of those African states still short of full independence.
After welcoming Zambia and Malawi into the United Nations, Mr. Eban congratulated Malta. He pointed out that Malta was linked to Israel by “Mediterranean kinship.” Although Malta was a small nation, he said, “Mediterranean history has proven the ability of small nations to transcend their smallness.” It was a sign of the UN’s “underlying health,” he declared, that the world organization, “even in difficult times,” could admit these new members.
One of the major tasks facing Mr. Eban during the next two or three weeks, when the General Assembly will conduct its annual general debate, will be the presentation of a major address outlining Israel’s foreign affairs policies not only in regard to the Arab states but concerning all UN issues.
Within less than 24 hours of his arrival, Mr. Eban also plunged today into arrangements for personal conferences with many of the 58 Foreign Ministers and other leading world statesmen here for the Assembly. In most of these talks he will be accompanied by Israel’s permanent delegation head, Ambassador Michael Comay.
Mr. Eban is also scheduled to confer with many of the leading personalities in American Jewish life, and to address functions to be conducted by a number of major Jewish organizations around the country.