TEL AVIV (Aug. 28)
Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said that Premier Shimon Peres’ visit to Cameroon this week was a “landmark of progress of renewed ties with Africa.”
He also said, during a tour of the security zone in south Lebanon where he met with Israeli soldiers serving there, “The value of the (Peres) trip is in increasing Israel’s presence on the African continent. I strongly hope that additional steps will follow the present one, and that our ties with Africa will grow, as they did until now — I only hope the pace will accelerate. Additional progress is expected. The visit is one of the landmarks.”
On another matter, Shamir told the Israeli soldiers that the Syrian threat was a permanent phenomenon against which Israel must always be prepared. But he added that the Israel Defense Force would not remain in the security zone forever.
He said the Syrian threat is manifested by that country’s “intentions, conceptions, the build-up of its military forces and political alliances. All Syrian activity today is directed toward a military confrontation–and we don’t know when it might come. It’s not a question of today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow–but we must be prepared for any possibility.”
Asked by one of the soldiers how long the IDF would have to remain in the zone, the Deputy Premier said: “There is, of course no intention or plan to remain here forever. However, as long as this is necessary, we have to be here.
“Anyone looking at what has been going on in the field recently, in the last year or two, knows that a great deal is being done here, a great deal is being contributed to Israel’s security. Everyone here should know that he is making a considerable contribution to quiet and security, and to the fact that we do not have to conduct any large-scale military operations.”