JERUSALEM (Jan. 20)
Official sources indicated today that the political talks between Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Allan MacEachen were friendly although MacEachen was not entirely in agreement with the Israeli government’s position on the Palestinian question. The sources said that Allon explained to the Canadian diplomat that Israel was boycotting the current Middle East debate of the UN Security Council as a symbol and warning of its possible reaction to any changes in the terms of reference of the Geneva conference.
But Allon said Israel did not boycott every international forum or conference at which the Palestine Liberation Organization was present. He noted in that connection that Israel would be participating in this year’s Habitat Conference at Vancouver despite the likely presence of the PLO there.
MacEachen, who arrived in Israel Sunday night on the final leg of a Middle East tour that took him to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, reportedly briefed Allon on his impressions from the Arab capitals. He and the Israeli Foreign Minister held a lengthy working session today attended by their respective aides and were said to have spent considerable time discussing bilateral relations between Israel and Canada.
PRAISES CANADA’S ROLE
Allon reportedly pointed out that several Western countries have taken legislative action against the Arab boycott of Israel and seemed to hint that Israel would welcome similar steps by Canada. MacEachen was said to have been non-committal on that matter. Allon expressed warm praise for Canada’s role in the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in Sinai and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights. Canadian units have participated in every peace-keeping force since the inception of the world organization.
The two ministers agreed to study ways to close the trade gap between Israel and Canada which is presently in Israel’s disfavor. MacEachen said he would study ways to encourage Canadian investments in Israel.
The Canadian visitor had a busy schedule. He called on President Ephraim Katzir and Premier Yitzhak Rabin this morning, visited Jerusalem Mayor Teddy KoHek at the City Hall, placed a wreath on the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, visited Herzl’s tomb and hosted a dinner in Allon’s honor last night.
Before leaving Jerusalem this afternoon for a tour of Galilee, MacEachen visited Christian holy places in East Jerusalem. His tour was billed as a “private visit” according to the protocol followed by visiting foreign ministers who do not officially recognize Israel’s sovereignty in East Jerusalem.