BRUSSELS (Jan. 31)
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban said here today that the new protocol signed by Israel and the nine-nation European Economic Community is only “a stepping stone” towards a larger and more intensive relationship between the two parties.
Eban, addressing a group of correspondents prior to his departure for Israel, where he is due to arrive tonight, said that the two Market leaders, Council of Ministers President Renaat Van Elslande, and Commission President, Francois Xavier Ortoli, also noted in their addresses yesterday this historic fact. Eban stressed that the two European leaders realized the “urgency” and the “necessity” of reaching an agreement with Israel which will strengthen its ties with the EEC.
The Israeli diplomat said that the agreement which provides for the “freezing” of Israel’s exports to the three new member states for one additional year, 1973, also provides for the start of new negotiations. These new negotiations, he said, will open next March and will be applicable as from Jan. 1974. Eban said that the agreement had been reached thanks to French intervention. “The motives are less important than the fact that French Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann enabled the negotiators to break the pre-existing deadlock.” he said.
Eban said he plans to visit France on what will be “an official visit” next March or April. He said talks on this subject were now being conducted with the French Foreign Affairs Ministry. In reply to a question, Eban said Israel expects West German Chancellor Willy Brandt to visit the country during the second half of 1973.