BUENOS AIRES (Jul. 10)
The Palestine Liberation Organization will not be allowed to open an office in Buenos Aires, a ranking government official told Jewish leaders here. But Argentina will not move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Those two stands, though not related, reflect the even-handed approach the Argentine regime is seeking to adopt toward the Middle East. It was explained in some detail by Deputy Foreign Minister Jorge Sabato in an address to the monthly public affairs forum of B’nai B’rith Argentina.
Sabato indicated that the government of President Raul Alfonsin strongly supports the rights of the Palestinian and equally strongly supports Israel’s right to exist as an independent state.
Argentina, he said, does not accept the equation of Zionism with racism or those who would have Israel labeled by the United Nations as a “non-peace loving nation.” At the same time, it does not approve certain Israeli actions such as the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear facility in 1981.
The Argentine official condemned the politization of international organizations and promised that his ministry would show concern for the situation of Jews in the Soviet Union. He stressed however that “Argentina is part of the non-aligned countries and shares the fundamental principles of that movement.” He observed that while Argentina recognizes the State of Israel’s right to exist, the Palestinian people also are entitled to life and existence based on fair solutions and “violence is not the way to that.”
Secretary of State Argentino Dio who was present at the meeting, pointed out that there were both Jewish and Arab communities in Argentina and the government is interested in their harmonious coexistence. Asked if Argentina would transfer its Embassy to Jerusalem as Costa Rica and El Salvador have done, he replied emphatically, “No.”