JERUSALEM (Sep. 23)
Israeli officials blamed “outside pressures” for Togo’s unexpected rupture of diplomatic relations with Israel which the Foreign Ministry announced Friday. Togo became the seventh African state since Feb. 1972 to sever ties with Israel.
Expressing “regret and bitter dismay” over the break, a Foreign Ministry spokesman observed: “It is strange that a sovereign state which has maintained bilateral relations with Israel in which no problems have arisen, should have submitted to outside pressures in this manner.” The remark was the first time an official spokesman directly blamed outside influences–meaning Arab–for a breach between Israel and an African state.
The reaction here was especially bitter in the case of Togo because relations between Israel and that country always have been good and there was every reason to think they would remain so, sources here said today.
They noted that only last week, officials in Togo suggested to the Israeli Ambassador that the foreign ministers of the two countries meet at the United Nations in New York and Israeli officials indicated that Foreign Minister Abba Eban would gladly respond to their suggestion. Sources here suggested that Togo’s extreme poverty made it susceptible to pressures and blandishments from the Arabs