JERUSALEM (Feb. 5)
Foreign Minister Mario Gibson Barboza of Brazil called on President Zalman Shazar this morning at the start of his four-day official visit to Israel. He told reporters that he came to strengthen links between his country and Israel. Barboza visited Cairo last week.
Israeli observers discounted the possibility that the Brazilian diplomat intended to be active in mediation between Israel and the Arab states. They regard his visit as a good-will gesture in line with Brazil’s policy of broadening its diplomatic contacts.
Yitzhak Harkavi, Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil who returned here to be on hand for Barboza’s visit, told reporters today that Brazil has consistently maintained a neutral policy in the Middle East. Harkavi said Brazil has not been as friendly to Israel as some of the smaller Latin American countries but noted that relations on both sides have always been correct.
AGREEMENTS EXPECTED TO BE SIGNED
Barboza held a working session with Foreign Minister Abba Eban this morning and was Eban’s dinner guest this evening. It is believed that their discussions included Israel’s quest for reciprocal air landing rights. Brazil, so far, has turned down all requests for landing rights for El Al at Rio de Janeiro. In that respect Brazil is believed to be bowing to heavy pressure on the part of some Arab countries. The Arabs have threatened to cancel the landing rights of Varig, Brazil’s national airline, if the Israeli airline is accorded landing rights in Brazil.
While in Cairo, Barboza singed an agreement with the Egyptian government which permits the Patrobas oil company of Brazil to prospect for oil in Egypt. His official statement at the end of his Cairo visit reaffirmed Brazil’s adherence to Security Council Resolution 242.
The Brazilian Foreign Minister is expected to sign agreements here for increased scientific and technical cooperation with Israel. Israeli agronomists and irrigation engineers have won praise in Brazil for their successful work in the difficult terrain of northeastern Brazil. Israel operates a post-graduate course for agriculturalists in northern Brazil.
Barboza was accompanied on his trip by Oswaldo Aranha a Brazilian industrialist and a son of the late Oswaldo Aranha who was president of the United Nations General Assembly in Nov. 1947 when it voted to partition Palestine.