BONN (Feb. 28)
Chancellor Ludwig Erhard told a press conference here that while he still planned to meet with Premier Eshkol of Israel, he now felt that such a meeting should wait until the current West German-Israel economic talks are completed.
The much-deferred talks on aid to Israel, promised last spring during negotiations which resulted in an exchange of diplomatic recognition, began last Wednesday and Thursday and then were postponed briefly for a third session this week.
The Chancellor was asked about his statement to a press conference several months ago that he hoped to meet with Premier Eshkol shortly. He replied that he thought the first thing was to bring the current talks to a successful conclusion. He added he was just as ready to meet with Premier Eshkol as he was some time ago. In response to another question, the Chancellor said the West German-Israeli talks were being conducted in “a good atmosphere” and could be expected to end in success.
He was asked by an Arab correspondent whether he thought the initiative for re-establishment of West German-Arab relations had to come from the Arabs. He replied that he considered relations with the Arab world unsatisfactory and that he would welcome a resumption of traditional West German-Arab ties. Ten of the 13 Arab League nations reduced or broke off relations with West Germany after it extended recognition to Israel.
Dr. Erhard emphasized that the diplomatic ties with Israel were not intended to be an action against the Arab world. He also said that the initiative for resumption of West German-Arab ties had to come from those nations which broke with his Government. He added that if such relations were resumed, they must not be considered a step against Israel.