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Allon: Israel Prepared to Resume Diplomatic Relations with USSR

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Foreign Minister Yigal Allon reiterated today that Israel was prepared to resume diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and said the Soviet authorities were aware of it. Replying to questions in the Knesset. Allon said that neither the Soviet Union nor any other Communist bloc country has approached Israel about resuming the diplomatic ties they broke during the 1967 Six-Day War.

However. Allon said. “Our standpoint has always been and still is that despite differences of opinion between us and the Soviet Union, misunderstanding can be prevented, and even a certain measure of mutual understanding achieved, through constant and direct contacts which are possible only between countries which maintain diplomatic relations.”

The Foreign Minister added. “This viewpoint has been brought to the attention of the Soviet Union which knows full well we are prepared to renew relations as soon as possible. Our door is open to any such initiative.” With regard to the People’s Republic of China, Allon said no changes have been noted in Peking’s attitude toward Israel, but the government will continue to seek contacts, directly or indirectly.

COMMITMENT FROM EGYPT ON SUEZ CANAL

Allon also told the Knesset that Israel had a commitment from Egypt to honor the principle of free navigation in the Suez Canal when the waterway is re opened. He said that Israel-bound cargoes would be allowed transit of the canal but the passage of Israel flag-ships would have to await a more permanent settlement with Egypt. He said that when the previous government decided to sign the disengagement agreement with Egypt last January. it was aware that the agreement would not settle all matters in dispute between the two countries.

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