Menu JTA Search

Mexico, Israel Seen Drawing Closer; Cooperative Projects Under Way

Mexican Foreign Minister Alfonso Garcia Robles told visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon yesterday that he hoped the “misunderstanding” between Israel and Mexico is over a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official said. According to the official, the hope was expressed during a luncheon Garcia Robles gave for Allon.

Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency if he agreed with Garcia Robles’ comment, the senior official said “yes.” He noted that Mexico was the only one of the 72 countries that voted for the United Nations General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism to have sent its Foreign Minister to Israel–Emilio Rabassa, who then held that post–to explain its vote and since then has refrained from supporting anti-Israel votes.

Allon also called upon President Luis Echeverria yesterday who welcomed him warmly and expressed the hope that the Israeli leader’s visit would strengthen relations between the two countries. Allon’s official visit to Mexico is in return for the visits to Israel by Echeverria last summer and Rabassa last November.

In his luncheon meeting with Echeverria, Allon was accompanied by Ephraim Evron, deputy director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and Hanan Aynor, Israel’s Ambassador to Mexico. Garcia Robles and some senior officials of the Mexican government also attended. In addition, the Mexican Minister of Natural Resources and some foreign ambassadors, including those from Argentina and Britain, were also present, according to the Israeli senior official.

After the lunch, Garcia Robles detailed the various cooperative projects between Israel and Mexico and announced that a Mexican economic mission will go to Israel at the end of March to meet with Israeli Commerce and Industry Minister Haim Barlev. He said he hoped this would lead to enhanced and expanding trade relations between the two countries.

ADMIRES ISRAEL’S ACHIEVEMENTS

Garcia Robles, who participated with the late Ralph Bunche in the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947 which recommended partition, expressed admiration for Israel’s achievements and for the fact that Jews were returning there from the diaspora.

He stressed that Mexico adheres to UN Security Council Resolution 242 and supports the right of Palestinians to self-determination. He added that all countries in the Middle East, including Israel, are entitled to live in peace and security and all countries have to “recognize the right of the other states to sovereign, peaceful and secure existence.” Asked by the JTA if he considered this a step forward, the senior Israeli official underlined Garcia Robles’ comments that all states must recognize the peaceful existence of the others.

Allon, in his toast, said that after considering all the joint ventures between the two countries in agriculture, science, economy, culture and now irrigation, it was necessary to spell out Israel’s position. He said Israel was ready to negotiate without any preconditions, that Israel must have viable borders, and that there could be changes in the post-1967 borders in a final peace arrangement.

OTHER ISSUES DISCUSSED

On the Palestinian issue and identity, Allon said a solution could be found in a peace agreement and in any negotiations with Jordan. Allon added that as good friends. Mexico and Israel agree to disagree on some elements of any projected peace settlement, but will continue to talk as friends.

JTA asked whether there had been any discussion between the two Foreign Ministers on the opening of a PLO office here. The answer was that to the best of available knowledge no date has been fixed for opening the office.

Two other matters were included in the general talks, the first regarding export of Israel’s phosphates here and the joint building of plants to process them. The second concerned El Al, and it was agreed that the Israeli airline would sent representatives here at the end of March to discuss mutual landing rights.

Allon’s schedule today included an address to the joint session of Congress at the Chamber of Deputies, a press reception at the Foreign Relations Secretariat in Tlatelolco which is Mexico’s Foreign Ministry building, and a party in his honor at the Israel Embassy. Allon’s visit tomorrow to Yucatan, the site of Mayan culture, was seen by some as a return for Echeverria’s visit to Masada when the Mexican President was in Israel.

NEXT STORY