JERUSALEM (Mar. 23)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban said last night that he did not see the latest anti-Israel moves by Uganda as a sign of rupturing relations between the two countries. There was no other official comment here on the announcement yesterday by President Idi Amin in Kampala that he will not renew existing agreements between his country and Israel and that he has ordered Israeli intelligence personnel to leave his capital immediately. “There are ups and downs in relations between two countries.” Eban said. He denied Amin’s charge that Israel had spies in the African country.
The latest crisis in the increasingly strained relations between Israel and Uganda followed publication by an Israeli newspaper of reports from Kampala that Amin had cancelled a visit to Egypt because of opposition at home. Amin denied the report yesterday and said it was evidence that Israel was carrying out subversive activities against Uganda. He alleged that the Israel Embassy in Kampala was the source of the false report. Amin announced that he would not renew Uganda’s agreements with Israel including one under which Israeli military advisers train Uganda’s armed forces.
Although Israel has taken a serious view of Amin’s past statements, it has tried to avoid further friction with Uganda. Eban’s statement last night was conciliatory. But official sources here are believed to be under no illusions about Amin’s aim which apparently is to link his country with the Arab bloc.
The former friendly relations between Israel and Uganda started to deteriorate earlier this year after Amin visited Libya and issued a joint communique with Libyan President Muammar el-Qaddafi demanding that Israel withdraw from the administered Arab territories. A month ago Amin charged that Israeli agents were trying to overthrow his regime and warned he would shut the Israeli Embassy if the alleged activities continued.