Sauvagnargues Meets with Israeli Leaders: No Untoward Incidents
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Sauvagnargues Meets with Israeli Leaders: No Untoward Incidents

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Foreign Minister Yigal Allon told French Foreign Minister Jean Sauvagnargues at a state dinner here tonight that with the Middle East at the crossroads between war and peace it was vital for the outside world to encourage moderate elements and shy away from words or deeds that might encourage the extremists. The latter were described by Allon as pushing for a new war. “And the most extreme of the extremists, by its words and deeds, is the organization calling itself the Palestine Liberation Organization.” Allon said.

His remarks were a pointed reference to France’s Middle East policy which has given encouragement to the PLO and its leader Yasir Arafat who met with Sauvagnargues in Beirut only a week ago. “It is enough to read its (the PLO’s) ‘covenant,’ it is enough to recall the chain of murders and sabotage perpetrated by its members and associated units in order to realize that the essence of the PLO is terror.” Allon declared. The state dinner at the King David Hotel ended the first day of Sauvagnargues’ three-day visit to Israel the first ever by a French Foreign Minister.

Allon, who is also Deputy Premier, and the French diplomat met in the morning and in the afternoon at the Foreign Ministry for discussions in which the Israeli Foreign Minister reportedly made clear his government’s sharp disagreement with French Mideast policies. Sauvagnargues reportedly replied that Israeli criticism stemmed from misunderstanding and a one-sided view of the Middle East conflict. One source quoted him. as saying that he understood Israel’s fears but suggested that Israel must reach an agreement with its Arab neighbors. “I doubt if you can afford to win more wars,” the French visitor reportedly said.

Sauvagnargues was received during the day by President Ephraim Katzir and Premier Yitzhak Rabin and made a ceremonial visit to the Yad Vashem. His wife, who is accompanying him was escorted by Mrs. Allon on a tour of the Hadassah Hospital medical center.


In offering a toast to his guest at the state dinner tonight, Allon expressed the hope that the friendship that exists between Israel and France will find its true expression in friendly relations in the political field as well as in the fields of economics and culture. He recalled happier days in Franco-Israeli relations when France aided Jews in achieving statehood and help Israel defend itself and develop. “It may be because of the friendly memories that the present differences of opinion between our two governments hurt so,” Allon said.

He said that Israel recognized that France had other interests in the region and did not assume that friends of Israel could not be friends of Israel’s enemies. It has been proven, he said, that whoever pursues a balanced policy in the area can maintain its influence in this region.


Sauvagnargues arrived at Ben Gurion Airport late last night where he was greeted by Allon. His reception was correct, but cool. About 200 demonstrators turned up at the airport to protest the visit on the grounds that France was allying itself with the PLO. About 150 demonstrators gathered outside the Foreign Ministry this morning. When Sauvagnargues’ limousine drew up they chanted “Arafat assassin, partner of Sauvagnargues,” a reference to his meeting with the PLO leader.

The demonstrators carried placards reading “Don’t barter Jewish blood for Arab oil.” and “Remember the children of Maalot.” Two of them were detained when a group tried to push past arm-linked police. Sauvagnargues didn’t seem to notice the demonstrators or the scores of press reporters and photographers as he entered the Ministry building. His face was expressionless. He is conducting his talks with Allon in English.

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