JERUSALEM (Feb. 29)
Israel’s once friendly relations with Uganda were further strained today following a report from Kampala that President Idi Amin has accused Israelis of trying to topple his regime. The charge, which according to a Reuters dispatch emanated from the Presidential Palace in the Ugandan capital, was described by a Foreign Ministry spokesman here tonight as “grave” and a “cause of great concern.”
According to the reports, Amin summoned the Israel Ambassador, Daniel Laor, and warned him that Uganda would sever its relations with Israel if its alleged activities continued. The Ugandan leader reportedly attributed to Israeli nationals in Kampala the distribution of leaflets calling for the return of deposed President Milton Obote, now in exile in Tanzania. Obote previously accused Israel of having helped Amin overthrow him.
Laor denied the charges, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman, and has been instructed to find out what lies behind them. Sources here said the accusations against Israel seemed intended to escalate the rift that developed with Uganda after Amin’s recent visit to Tripoli where he got promises of substantial financial support from Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, leader of Libya’s ruling military junta.
Amin and Qaddafi issued a joint communique demanding that Israel withdraw from all occupied Arab territories and restore the rights of the Pal- estinian people. The statement jolted Israeli leaders in view of the hitherto friendly relations with Uganda, the extensive Israeli technical assistance to that country and the large number of Ugandans studying here on Israeli scholarships. Amin recently visited Israel.