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West Germany Seeks Improved Relations with Arabs but Not at Expense of Israel

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The West German government wants to improve its relations with the Arab states but will not do so at the expense of its relations with Israel, government spokesman Konrad Ahlers said after a Cabinet meeting today. “Normalization of our relations with all Arab states is in the interests of both sides, but we cannot accept any pre-conditions,” he said. Ahlers was believed to be referring to a report that Egyptian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad offered to resume diplomatic relations with Bonn if West Germany opposed Israeli “aggression” and demanded the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories. Cairo severed diplomatic relations with West Germany when the Bonn government recognized Israel in 1965. Ahlers commented that a rapprochement was possible only if it was based on mutual confidence and good will. He said Bonn’s Middle East policy continued to be based on a solution derived from the Security Council’s Resolution 242. “We believe in its two principles–that maintaining peace in that region be based on withdrawal from occupied territories and the right of all states to sovereignty and security,” he said.

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