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South Africa’s Foreign Minister to Visit Israel Next Month

Foreign Minister Pik Botha of South Africa is scheduled to visit Israel next month but Israeli officials said today that the visit will be a private one in which he will see holy sites. He is slated to arrive here November 4 on his way to West Germany. Although the visit is not considered official, Botha is expected to meet with Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

The newspaper Maariv reported yesterday that Israeli officials were concerned that attempts to renew diplomatic relations with Black African nations would be harmed by Botha’s visit. Shamir said last week after returning from talks at the United Nations that Israel’s relations with the Third World countries, especially in Black Africa, were improving.

In the 1960’s, Israel developed extensive agricultural aid programs in Africa, but most Black African nations severed diplomatic relations under Arab pressure during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Zaire and Liberia have since renewed ties. Liberian Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Gray Allison is now visiting Israel and is slated to meet with Peres, according to Israeli officials.