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Official Raps Argentine Minister’s Statement About Jews in Government

A former Presidential candidate criticized Argentine Welfare Minister Jose Lopez Riga for his statement last Tuesday that the presence of Jewish officials in the Argentine government was not helpful to Argentine interests in Libya. Lopez Riga, who headed a trade delegation to Libya, told a meeting of representatives of the Argentine Arab community that he found a “negative atmosphere” in Libya. He attributed it to the fact that several cablegrams from the Argentine government to the delegation had been signed by Jewish officials.

Lopez Riga also reported that in his negotiations with Libyan officials he had been able to “overcome this difficulty” and had reached a number of important agreements. Newspapers in Buenos Aires indicated that the comment about “Jewish officials” was aimed at Jose Ber Gelbard, the Argentine Finance Minister.

Francisco Manrique of the center-right Alianza Republicana Federulista, a candidate in the March, 1973 elections, said the action of the Welfare Minister in inviting local Arabs to hear a report on his Libyan trip depressed him. He said that in Argentina “we never divided” on the basis of being the “offspring” of some group. He added that “this is a way of bringing the Middle East problem to Argentina.” His criticism was published In the morning newspaper. “La Opinion.”

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