JERUSALEM (Dec. 20)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban held a press conference here today at which be announced that a Franco–Israeli dialogue is still going on concerning arms supplies and the balance of power in the Middle East. He also declared that the Israel-Rumanian trade agreement signed yesterday has political and technical ramifications that go far beyond the matter of trade between the two countries. Further, he expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the refugee deliberations at the United Nations where the General Assembly yesterday declined to vote on a proposal to establish a U.N. custodian of absentee Arab property in Israel.
Mr. Eban said that the negative action on a custodianship was “further proof of the U.N.’s unwillingness to pass useless resolutions that would serve only to increase enmity in the area.” He said that, during this year’s sessions of the General Assembly and Security Council, all anti-Israel proposals were solidly defeated. He added that Israel has stood fast on matters of principle, but was flexible on lesser problems.
Discussing the new trade pact with Rumania, Mr. Eban said that “its scope is much wider than can be defined under the term trade agreement.” It calls for technical, scientific, economic and cultural cooperation on a very large scale, he declared, noting that Rumania’s readiness for such far reaching measures is doubtlessly based on political decisions taken by the Rumanian Government. This is especially significant, the Foreign Minister said, in view of the attitude of the other Communist countries to the events of the past six months.
Referring to the talks with France on arms matters, Mr. Eban would say only that Israel’s Ambassador in Paris, Walter Eytan, has instructions to keep in close touch with French Foreign Minister Couve de Murville on the matter. The feeling in political quarters here, meanwhile, is that the United States will take a sympathetic view of Israel’s need to maintain a balance of military strength in the Middle East, in face of the rapid rearmament of the Arab countries by Russia.