NEW YORK (Jun. 29)
Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, had private meetings here with Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez of Spain and President Felix Houphouet-Boigny of Ivory Coast. The subject of diplomatic relations with Israel figured prominently in both discussions, a WJC spokesman reported.
The spokesman said the meetings were "highly positive" and reported that Gonzalez invited Bronfman to pay an official visit to Madrid next fall. Bronfman was accompanied at his meeting with Gonzalez by Howard Squadron, immediate pastchairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Meanwhile, the leader of Liberia, Commander-in-Chief Samuel Doe, is seeking agreement of the People’s Redemption Council, the representative body in Liberia, to open talks with Israel on the resumption of diplomatic relations, according to a Radio Monrovia broadcast monitored here by the WJC. Doe spoke of the possible "role Liberia could play to help establish genuine peace in the Middle East" and indicated that if given a mandate, he was prepared to talk with the Prime Minister of Israel.
DOE URGES NEGOTIATIONS
Doe noted, according to the broadcast, that in the ten years since Liberia and other African nations severed relations with Israel in accordance with the decision of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) after the October, 1973 war, no satisfactory progress has been made toward peace in the Middle East. Doe said "This is because we avoided direct talks with Israel."
He said Liberia firmly believes in the settlement of disputes by negotiations and while it remains committed to the Arab cause, "the settlement in Lebanon and the return of all Arab lands and the Palestinian question would be more fruitfully resolved through negotiations."
Doe said that if the Peoples Council responds positively to his proposal, "We will proceed in the spirit of the Camp David accords and Liberia’s traditional belief in good will among nations, to give due consideration to the establishment of relations with Israel." He urged other African leaders to act more constructively toward the Middle East because "After ten years, our isolation of Israel has only helped to antagonize the achievement of peace in that area."