Menu JTA Search

Contacts with Senghor to Continue Despite His Criticism of Israel

Diplomatic sources here said today that contacts are continuing with President Leopold Senghor of Senegal despite his statement in an interview yesterday with the French newspaper Le Monde that Israel was not being sufficiently flexible in its terms for peace negotiations under the auspices of United Nations mediator Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring. Senghor’s criticism apparently was received with surprise here inasmuch as the Senegalese chief of state originally approved of Israel’s position.

Circles here said that Senghor’s change of mind, reflected in his Le Monde interview, apparently took place after he met with Dr. Jarring in Dakar last month. Dr. Jarring’s Feb. 8, 1971 memoire to Israel asked for a commitment to withdraw from occupied Arab territories in exchange for peace negotiations. Israel rejected the request, informed Jarring that it would not annex Arab territories but made it clear that it would not return, under any circumstances, to its pre-June, 1967 borders.

Senghor maintained in his interview published in Paris that this could not possibly satisfy Egypt and warned that Israel may have grounds to fear “that her most sincere friends south of the Sahara will be forced to saddle her completely with the responsibility for the African ‘wise mens’ failure.” Senghor expressed the opinion that the Egyptian leadership could not go further than it has, namely acceptance of discussions with Israel and the existence of a Jewish State within its pre-June 1967 boundaries. The Israelis, according to Senghor, “now hold the key to the problem.” The African leader also contended that the United States and the Soviet Union do not want a Middle East solution unless it is one brought about through their efforts.

NEXT STORY