LONDON (Oct. 20)
Ivory Coast’s President, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, indicated that the resumption of full diplomatic relations between the Black African country and Israel was near, the World Jewish Congress reported here.
WJC monitoring sources said that a broadcast from the Ivory Coast cited remarks by Houphouet-Boigny who said that the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries “was now only a matter of technicalities.” The broadcast carried the account of an October 14 news conference by the African leader.
Meanwhile, in New York, WJC executive director Elan Steinberg disclosed that Houphouet-Boigny had held a private meeting with WJC president Edgar Bronfman. “President Houphouet-Boigny, when asked about the question of diplomatic relations with Israel, made clear his intention to move in a positive direction on the issue, stating he would ‘take care of that problem’,” Steinberg said.
At a meeting with WJC representatives in New York, the Ivory Coast UN Ambassador said that he favored the restoration of diplomatic ties between Black African countries and the Jewish State. “He told us that even without diplomatic relations, Israel has maintained good commercial relations with many African countries, including the Ivory Coast,” Steinberg added.