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Fiji Premier Visits Israel

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The Prime Minister of Fiji, Kamisese Mara, arrived in Israel today from Lebanon on an official visit. He spent last night with members of the Fijian battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) stationed between the Palestine Liberation Organization-controlled zone and the Christian militia lines.

Helicoptering from the Rosh Hanikra border post to Jerusalem, he was welcomed in the capital by Deputy Premier Simcha Ehrlich. Later he was to call on Premier Menachem Begin and Knesset Speaker Yitzhak Shamir. Mara told this reporter he was especially interested in Israel’s prowess and progress in areas of irrigation, desalination and solar energy.” Israeli experts, some working under UN auspices and others sent directly from Jerusalem, have worked in Fiji over the years in the fields of agriculture and collective marketing.

In south Lebanon, Mara said, he had found high morale among his troops even though they have had the highest casualty rate among the UN contingents. (The one battalion represents half of Fiji’s army. Fiji has a population of 500,000. He had spent a day with high government officials in Beirut and had been given to understand, he said, that neither the Lebanese government nor the Syrians wanted Iranian volunteers to join with PLO forces in south Lebanon.

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