TEL AVIV (Jan. 26)
President Chaim Herzog returned to Israel today from a nine-day state visit to Zaire and Liberia and said he was very satisfied with his trip. He told reporters upon his arrival a Ben Gurion International Airport that the most important element of his trip was possibly the very fact of the state visit itself.
“The reception accorded my wife, my colleagues and myself was beyond all expectations,” he said. Herzog was the first Israeli President to visit Black African countries since Zaire and Liberia resumed diplomatic ties with Israel after having severed them in 1973.
Herzog said the talks he held with Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko and Liberian President Samuel Doe were a continuation of talks previously held by Yitzhak Shamir while he was still Foreign Minister and Ariel Sharon when he was Defense Minister during their visits to Africa two years ago.
Herzog noted that his visit and talks with Mobutu and Doe had been not only ceremonial, but had also resulted in concrete agreements on Israeli aid to the two countries and mutual cooperation.
REAPING THE FRUITS OF EARLIER ACTIVITIES
He noted that Israel was now able to reap the fruits of the activities started over 20 years ago — the then Labor government whose Prime Minister, the late Golda Meir, had put special stress on Israel’s relations with Africa and Asia.
On the aircraft bringing him home, Herzog told accompanying Israeli journalists that he would have liked Israeli aid to Africa and other countries to stress more economic, social, agricultural and technical aid than military assistance.