MEXICO CITY (Mar. 3)
Before a battery of klieg lights and scores of Mexican and foreign correspondents. Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon and Mexican Foreign Minister Alfonso Garcia Robles answered a flurry of questions last night. Some of the questions covered old ground but in light of the time spent here by Allon in conversations and negotiations, took on added significance.
In ending the session, Allon thanked the Mexican government, President Luis Echeverria and his “distinguished” colleague Garcia Robles for their warm hospitality and said he thought his visit was “interesting, pleasant and fulfilling.”
Garcia Robles chose this occasion to underscore an earlier question about the Mexican permission for the Palestine Liberation Organization to open an office here. He said it followed a promise made by Echeverria during his trip to the Middle East last summer. But Garcia Robles stressed that the office would be a “press office.”
The reporters’ questions concerned the relationship between Israel and Mexico which both Foreign Ministers said was based on “friendship” and understanding; and the establishment of joint economic ventures, which they had announced earlier in chemicals, agriculture, economic and cultural areas and airplane manufacturing.
BOYCOTT MATTER SETTLED
In answer to a question about the loss to Mexico from the tourist boycott, and Israel’s responsibility for it, Allon said the government of Israel was not responsible for what organizations did. But he thought that since the meeting of American Jewish leaders with the Mexican President, this matter has now been settled. Allon pointed out that the scope of agreement between the countries was wider than that of disagreement and underlined that Israel last year imported $98 million worth of goods from Mexico and exported only $6 million.
Despite the apparent friendship, there was the disagreement, albeit unexpressed, about the Palestinian question. Both sides now understand the other’s point of view, both Foreign Ministers said. Mexico, Garcia Robles said, stands ready, if invited, to mediate provided its mediation can be constructive.
Allon was asked a series of questions to which he gave very specific answers. Asked about the return of occupied land for peace, he said that Israel wants to negotiate with each and every nation involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict for a full “normalization of relationships.” He said this could be done through the Geneva conference to which all of the original participants are invited.
We faulted the hesitation of the Arabs whether it was due to psychological or internal political reasons. He expressed the hope that negotiations would lead to the “termination of war.” but stressed that Israel’s compromises would be no less than the others.
DON’T NEED ADVICE ON MIDEAST SETTLEMENT
In an apparent response to a question about Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s statement that the rights of the Palestinian people must be considered, Allon said “we need no advice” on how to settle the conflict. He said that any settlement will have to include a “just determination of the Palestinian community.” Whether this was done through Jordan or a West Bank entity was up to the Arabs to decide, he observed.
Allon recommended that “some informal consultations” take place in which representatives of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank participate. He ruled out the PLO as a participant calling it a terrorist organization devoted to the genocide of the Israeli people. He contrasted the PLO with other national liberation movements in Ireland, India, Angola, Algeria, Kenya and with Zionism as wanting to get rid of foreign “dominating” powers. He rejected any foreign (U.S.) influence saying the conflict had to be settled by the parties involved.
Asked about a statement last week allegedly made by Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin that war with Syria could not be ruled out this year. Allon said Israel would be militarily alert and would explore political solutions. Thus, he said, Israel would not be surprised again and would pursue all avenues for peace.
Following a question about the text of the UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the word “territories” on “the territories.” Allon said the wordage used was originally English and cited three British leaders, Harold Wilson, George Brown and Lord Caradon in support of his position Garcia Robles added that in an earlier recommendation, Latin American countries used the expression “the territories.”
On the question of Mexico’s influence in Third World nations and the role played by oil. Allon said the matter was not brought up. He said that Israel is not in short supply of oil but refused to reveal its sources. Garcia Robles’ response about Mexican influence in the Third World was measured, as were most of his answers, and he said Mexico would be glad to help.
The conference ended with pleasantries but the impression was this series of events was just the beginning of another series implemented by both dialogue and economic values, to widen and intensify the “friendship” between the two countries.