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Sisco Assures Arabs U.S. Discourages Americans from Serving in Israel’s Armed Forces

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A high State Department official reassured ten Arab envoys at a special meeting at the Department today that the United States policy seeks “friendship with both Arabs and Israelis” and that the U.S. does not favor the service of American citizens in Israeli armed forces.

Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, met with the envoys of Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Sudan. Egypt, Algeria and Sudan, which severed diplomatic relations with the U.S. during the June, 1967 Arab-Israeli war, were represented respectively by India, Guinea and Somalia.

A State Department announcement after the meeting said that Mr. Sisco denied that the U.S. encouraged its citizens to take part in military activities in the Mideast. He told the Arabs that “some very few Israeli citizens who hold dual Israeli-American citizenship may be serving in the Israeli armed forces, but we have no exact count.” He said, “the same situation may well exist insofar as the armed forces of some other nations, including the Arab states are concerned. Far from encouraging U.S. citizens to serve in the armed forces of foreign nations, the U.S. government strongly prefers that they do not do so.” Mr. Sisco said that “in the case of Israel and other nations, U.S. diplomatic and consular offices make every effort to protect U.S. citizens from being inducted into the armed forces of foreign countries, even where dual citizenship is involved.” Mr. Sisco asked the Arab envoys to report these acts to their governments. He said that distorted reports “seriously impair efforts to create an atmosphere in which a just and lasting peace in the Mideast can be achieved.”

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