PARIS (Oct. 29)
Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy got firm assurances Sunday from France that no matter how the Persian Gulf crisis is resolved, Israel need not worry about facing an Iraqi assault alone.
Prime Minister Michel Rocard told Levy that France does not yet know whether the crisis will be ended by military action or negotiations.
But “whatever the solution, Saddam Hussein will never again be in a position to threaten you (Israel) and other countries,” Rocard said.
Rocard’s was responding to an interview published Sunday in Le Monde, in which Levy was quoted as saying that if Iraq avoids a military confrontation, Israel would eventually be forced to face Hussein alone with his army intact.
Levy’s meeting with Rocard on the first day of his four-day working visit was exceptionally cordial, in contrast to the cold reception he got when he landed in Paris a short time earlier.
The Israeli foreign minister was greeted at the airport by the deputy head of the Foreign Ministry’s protocol department, an official considerably below him in rank.
But Rocard went out of his way to extend him the maximum courtesy. He waited for Levy at the bottom of the stairs leading to his office and accompanied him out after their one-hour talk.