Allon, Gromyko Meet for 3 Hours
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Allon, Gromyko Meet for 3 Hours

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Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko met for three hours last night at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. The meeting took place at the initiative of Allon and all aspects of the Mideast situation were discussed by the two leaders. This information was reported shortly before midnight to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by an Israeli spokesman. The meeting between the two officials was kept a closely guarded secret after it was arranged earlier in the day.

According to the Israeli spokesman, Israeli Ambassador Chaim Herzog had arranged the meeting. Herzog approached the Soviet Mission and suggested that since both Allon and Gromyko were here for the General Assembly the opportunity should be used for them to meet. The Soviets responded favorably. Accompanying Allon at the meeting were Herzog and Eliyahu Chasin, Allon’s political advisor.


This was the first pre-arranged meeting between two high-ranking Israeli and Soviet officials since the USSR broke diplomatic relations with Israel during the Six-Day War that was officially reported by Israel. There had been unofficial reports of secret and chance meetings between Israel and Soviet diplomats during the past three years in Europe and in Washington, but these were always denied or hedged by either or both the Soviet Union and Israel.

Observers at the UN refrained from making too much of the Allon-Gromyko meeting but noted that both Israel and the Soviet Union had been putting out diplomatic feelers in occasional statements regarding the advantages of resuming relations. For Israel, some observers noted, it would be advantageous to have the Soviet Union, in addition to the U.S., participating in Mideast developments. It would, they noted, remove Israel’s sole dependency on the U.S. At the same time, the absence of diplomatic ties with Israel has been a distinct disadvantage to the USSR in not being able to have her feet in both the Arab and Israeli worlds as the U.S. has.


In a completely different atmosphere than that which prevailed at the meeting between Allon and Gromyko, the UN General Assembly earlier in the day heard a diatribe delivered by the Iraqi delegate who demanded Israel’s expulsion from the world body. This was the first call during the Assembly session for Israel’s expulsion. Dr. Saadoon Hammadi insisted that the ouster of Israel was the only way the international community could rectify the Assembly’s “error” in 1947 when it voted for the partition of Palestine.

Israel did not request the right to reply during the Assembly session because it did not want to “stoop to reply” and “descend into the gutter.” But in a statement to reporters Herzog said: “It lies not with a dictatorship such as Iraq which indulges in public executions in the main square of Baghdad to lecture a free democracy such as Israel on the subject of humanity. It is relevant to recall that of the ancient Jewish community in Iraq which numbered 160,000, hardly anyone remains today.”


Also addressing the Assembly yesterday was the West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, who observed that his country’s attitude in the Middle East was in full agreement with the rest of the European community–namely that a lasting peace in the region could be achieved only by respecting Israel’s right to live within secure and recognized boundaries and implementing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. He said the final agreement must include the termination of the occupation of Arab territory.

A similar policy toward the Middle East was expressed in the address of the Japanese Foreign Minister, Kiichi Miyazawa who declared that the Arab-Israeli conflict would be resolved only through negotiations and a settlement achieved only if Israel withdraws from the territories it occupied in 1967. He emphasized that “all parties concerned, including Israel, have the right to live in peace and this right must be respected.” He added, however, that a just peace required that the legitimate rights of the Palestinians be respected in accordance with the UN Charter.


Britain called for an interim agreement between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights as the next step in the Middle East “to provide the proof that the latest agreement (between Israel and Egypt) was not an end in itself but part of a continuous process leading to a comprehensive settlement.” British Foreign Minister James Callaghan said that following an agreement with Syria the question of the Palestinians on the West Bank should be next on the agenda. He observed that these problems should be resolved “in a comprehensive forum such as Geneva provides.” Praising the latest interim agreement between Egypt and Israel, he observed that this progress does not mean “that peace is around the corner.”

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