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Israel Preparing for State Visit by President of Liberia

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Tentative preparations are being made here for a state visit for President Samuel Doe of Liberia, according to Haaretz today, following Liberia’s announcement earlier this week that it would resume diplomatic relations with Israel. The visit is likely as early as next week, the paper said, but arrangements have not been finalized.

Meanwhile, Israel Television reported last night that several other African states are expected to follow Liberia’s move in the near future. The TV mentioned Togo, the Central African Republic, and the Ivory Coast. Liberia is the second African nation, after Zaire, to resume diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israeli sources reported that Liberia’s Defense Minister visited Jerusalem and met with Premier Menachem Begin shortly before the announcement last weekend from Monrovia that diplomatic links would be restored.

A Likud member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Ehud Olmert, denied this week that the main area of cooperation between Israel and many of the African states expected to renew relations was military supplies. Olmert said that agricultural and technological aid comprised the bulk of the contacts, but he did not deny that there were arms supply relationships as well.

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