PARIS (Oct. 26)
Ivory Coast, which resumed diplomatic relations with Israel less than a year ago, announced Sunday that it will move its recently re-opened Embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
According to Radio Abidjan, the decision was taken by the country’s ruling Democratic Party at a special meeting convened by President Felix Houphouet-Boigny. A government statement said it was in accordance with a United Nations Security Council resolution of 1980 calling on all UN members-states with Embassies in Jerusalem to withdraw them.
Radio Abidjan reported last week that Houphouet-Boigny had decided on the move and would ask his government’s approval. Ivory Cost Information Minister Simon Ake was quoted as saying his country opposed Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. There was no official comment from Jerusalem Sunday.
Diplomatic circles here believe Ivory Coast is responding to a threat by the Arab League member states in Tunis a week ago to sever ties with the West African nation unless its Embassy was removed from Jerusalem. They also threatened economic sanctions. Commerce in Ivory Coast is dominated by Arabs of Syrian and Lebanese origin and 23 percent of the country’s population of 10 million is Moslem.
Ivory Coast severed relations with Israel after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. They were restored last December with the understanding that the Embassy would be located in Jerusalem.