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U.S. Welcomes Liberia’s Move to Resume Diplomatic Ties with Israel

The United States welcomed today Liberia’s decision to resume diplomatic relations with Israel. But the State Department seemed to go out of the way to stress that the decision by the African country was made on its own.

“The United States welcomes the government of Liberia’s independent decision to resume relations with Israel,” Department deputy spokesman Alan Romberg said. “It has made this important move on its own initiative. We continue to encourage other countries to extend full diplomatic recognition to Israel.”

At one point in reading the statement, Romberg made a slip of the tongue calling Liberia “Libya.” Romberg, who had accompanied Secretary of State George Shultz to Mexico for President Reagan’s meeting with Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid, had explained earlier that he had not returned to Washington until 4 a.m.