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Israel Strongly Condemns State of Emergency in South Africa

The Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the state of emergency declared by the South African government. A statement released Sunday said it viewed with “extreme gravity” that government’s refusal to allow the Black community to mark the 10th anniversary of the Soweto riots, the beginning of their organized struggle against apartheid.

Israel announced a short while later that it would join the worldwide protest by shutting down its Embassy in Pretoria for 24 hours Monday.

The Foreign Ministry’s statement went on to say that in accordance with Israel’s fundamental and consistent opposition to apartheid, it is convinced that the latest deterioration of the situation in South Africa poses serious dangers to the welfare of the entire South African population. The statement was issued following the weekly Cabinet meeting at which events in South Africa were discussed.

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, meanwhile, greeted the visiting Foreign Minister of Liberia, Dr. J. Bernard Blamo, at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday. He said that Israel objected strongly to apartheid and was trying to persuade the South African government to abandon that policy.

Blamo expressed hope that Israel would indeed exert its influence on South Africa. However, he appeared not to favor an economic boycott which he said would also affect other countries on the African continent.

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