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Shamir Warns on Iran-iraq War

September 29, 1980
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Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir warned today that the Iraqi-Iranian war threatens the entire Middle East and the supply of oil to most of the world. He suggested that the United States take measures to end the conflict and hinted that it may already be doing so. He also said that the danger of Arab moves to expel Israel from the United Nations still exists, though they may not be imminent.

Shamir, who spoke in reply to questions at a press conference at the Regency Hotel this morning, also welcomed the call by Foreign Minister Gabriel Matthews of Liberia in the UN General Assembly Friday for African countries to reexamine their relations with Israel. Most African countries severed diplomatic ties with Israel after the Yom Kippur War. The Israeli diplomat is scheduled to address the General Assembly tomorrow to outline Israel’s foreign policy principles.

Shamir called the Liberian Foreign Minister’s remark in his General Assembly address “encouraging.” He said it was indicative of a new tendency on the part of the African countries to revise their relations with Israel. “We have to look at it seriously and I hope there will be a follow up to it,” he said. He added that contacts between Israel and African countries are continuing “all the time” at different levels.


Asked to comment on the war between Iraq and Iran, Shamir said it posed a danger to Israel. He said the Iraqis have ambitions to control the Middle East area “and anybody who wants to control the Middle East wants to achieve it by harming Israel. This is a real cause for concern.”

Shamir added that the war threatened not only the entire Middle East but much of the world’s oil supply. Therefore, he said, it is expected that a country as important as the United States would make efforts to stop this danger and it seems that developments are moving in that direction. He did not elaborate.

He said that in his view the danger still exists of an Arab attempt to expel Israel from the 154-member world organization although he does not expect such a move in the next few days “but the attempt might be renewed in the future as long as there is an automatic majority at the UN.”

He noted that during his talks with various foreign ministers here in the last two weeks, he received assurances from them that they would exert all their power to thwart such a move. Shamir has met with the foreign ministers of Western European and South American countries.

With respect to Israel’s relations with the Soviet Union, Shamir said, in reply to a question by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he does not see any sign of change toward Israel on the part of the USSR. He said he had met today with Foreign Minister Stefhan Andrie of Rumania who asked him why Israel objects to a Soviet role in the Middle East peace negotiations. Shamir said, “I told him that the Soviets removed themselves from the process by severing diplomatic relations with Israel.

Shamir is scheduled to leave the U.S. Tuesday night for Europe before returning to Israel.

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