Israeli Official Offers African States Agricultural Expertise

Israel offered to share its expertise in agriculture and arid zone research with the nations of Africa and to cooperate with them in innovative research and development.

David Kimche, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the proposal Wednesday night, in an address to the special session of the General Assembly on the “Critical Economic Situation in Africa.”

“Israel wishes to share the fruits of its experience with the peoples of Africa,” Kimche declared. “We are not a large country, nor do we have large budgets at our disposal. We do, however, have a great deal of experience in rural development and agriculture under difficult conditions.

“Also as a people with an unparalleled history of being victims of racial persecution, we maintain a large reservoir of good will and sympathy for the people of Africa. We are earnestly seeking ways in which we can transfer the relevant aspects of our experience and know-how to Africa.”

‘CRITICAL CONSTRAINTS’

Noting that Israel has trained in the last three decades tens of thousands of persons from over 110 countries, the Israeli official stated: “Israel is willing to work with African countries and the international community in assisting to relieve one of the most critical constraints to African economic development: that of know-how transfer.”

Israel presently holds diplomatic ties only with six African nations: Zaire, Swaziland, Malawi, Liberia, Lesotho and the Ivory Coast. Most of the African states cut diplomatic ties with the Jewish State after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Kimche’s offer to the African nations to put at their disposal Israeli know-how and agricultural expertise, was seen by diplomats and observers here as part of Israel’s continued efforts to restore its diplomatic relations with as many as possible countries in Africa.

In a briefing with Israeli reporters Thursday, Kimche disclosed that he has been holding talks with many African delegates, including representatives of countries who do not have diplomatic ties with Israel. He declined to mention the countries. He said that many African diplomats requested further information following his statement at the General Assembly Wednesday night.

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