Mexican President Due Thursday; Tough but Friendly Talks Expected

“Bienvenido Senor Presidente,” “Bienvenido Senora de Echeverria,” say the red-green-and white-placards on the streets of Jerusalem in a greeting to Mexico’s President Luis Echeverria and his wife, Maria Esther, due here Thursday for a three-day visit.

Israel will be the 14th port of call on the Echeverria’s current world tour which will end next week in Jordan. Since Israel is not abundantly blessed with visits by heads of state, and since Echeverria is considered here a warm friend of Israel, Jerusalem is making every effort to give the guests a sincerely hearty welcome, Officials here say they expect tough and frank talks with the Mexican leader–who does not hide his deep differences of outlook with Israel on matters of fundamental importance in the Mideast conflict.

Thus, Echeverria has already indicated that he will argue forthrightly with his Israeli hosts on behalf of self-determination for the Palestinian People, a cause which he has consistently supported. (Self-determination as a political principle of universal application is almost a part of the Mexican ethos, say observers of Mexican politics.) He will argue, too, against the acquisition of territory by force–a cardinal and consistent plank of Mexican political philosophy. Mexico itself had vast areas of fertile land taken by force by the U.S.–(California, Texas, New Mexico)–and partly as a result of that it firmly opposes such phenomena in other parts of the world.

WARM FRIEND OF ISRAEL

But beyond the differences of view, which Israeli diplomats and others who know him well say are sincerely held on Echeverria’s part, the Mexican leader is considered here to be a warm friend of Israel and the Jewish people and a frank and open admirer of the social, technological and agricultural development of the Jewish State.

During his visit, he will be shown sites of scientific and social interest around the country–as well as holding extensive political talks with Premier Yitzhak Rabin and other top ministers. He will spend Saturday as Foreign Minister Yigal Allon’s guest on Kibbutz Ginossar, Echeverria and his wife have often expressed interest in the kibbutz as a socio-agricultural framework, He will hold a closing press conference together with Rabin here Sunday.

The Echeverrias will bring with them an entourage of 180 persons flying in two special jets. They include three of the President’s eight children, the Foreign Minister and his wife, Emilio Rabasso and Mrs. Rabasso, several deputy ministers and officials, administrative personnel and reporters.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s Ambassador to Israel, Dr, Benito Berlin, reiterated Echeverria’s statement in Kuwait that Mexico will oppose Arab attempts to oust Israel from the United Nations during the meeting this month in Lima, Peru of foreign ministers of 70 non-aligned nations, Dr, Berlin said that although Mexico will be only an observer at the Lima conference, Mexico will exert its influence to prevent the adoption of any resolution calling for Israel’s expulsion. It was understood that Mexico’s stand at the Lima confab will have a strong influence there on Latin American delegates because of her independent position. (By David Landau)

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