JERUSALEM (Sep. 4)
Israeli diplomats assigned to those non-aligned nations with which Israel has diplomatic relations have been lobbying with some effect during the past two weeks to blunt extreme anti-Israel resolutions the Arab states are expected to seek at the non-aligned summit meeting in Algiers. The presidents, premiers and foreign ministers of more than 70 states of Asia, Africa and Latin America are gathered in the Algerian capital where a preliminary foreign ministers’ meeting opened yesterday, the Three-day summit conference of heads of states begins tomorrow.
According to informed sources, Israeli diplomats have received assurances in a number of capitals that the governments in question will try to block extreme Arab measures.
These reportedly include a diplomatic, economic, military, cultural and sea and air transport boycott of Israel, according to Arab foreign ministers sponsoring the measures. Most delegations are reportedly sympathetic to Arab demands for Israel’s withdrawal from the Arab territories it won in 1967. But some are said to be reluctant to commit themselves to an all-out boycott of Israel because they have large Jewish communities at home.
Elijah Mudenda, of Zambia, the outgoing chairman of the foreign ministers’ meeting, opened the session yesterday with a speech calling for support of liberation movements and joint action against Israel. The Algerian Foreign Minister, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was elected to preside at the four-day session. Speakers represented the main regions of the non-aligned membership: Africa, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. There is also a strong contingent of observer delegates from liberation movements who have stressed support to “freedom fighters” and action against Israel.
OIL AS POLITICAL WEAPON LOOMS LARGE
The question of using Arab oil as a political weapon against the U.S. and European supporters of Israel is expected to come up during the summit. Libya is the most militant advocate of such a course. Libyan Premier Abdel Salam Jalloud told reporters in Tripoli yesterday that his country’s take-over of 51 percent of the major foreign oil firms in Libya was directed primarily against Washington. But he promised that all customers who signed contracts and want Libyan oil will get it. “We hope we do not have to use the oil weapon, but America will force us to resort to this method,” Jalloud said.
The Libyan oil take-over is on the agenda of a ministerial council session of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) that opened today in the Persian Gulf principality of Qatar. The gathering is primarily of oil ministers. Informed sources did not anticipate a discussion of the recent moves toward a joint Arab strategy to use oil as a political weapon against Israel’s Western supporters. It was pointed out that decisions on such matters are made by heads of state, not oil ministers. Most Arab heads of state are at the non-aligned meeting in Algiers.