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Netherlands Foreign Minister, Eban Discuss Middle East and European Common Market

July 23, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Joseph M.A. H. Luns. The Netherlands Foreign Minister, had meetings here today with Prime Minister Abba S. Eban during which Middle East problems in general were discussed and Netherlands-Israeli relations reviewed. Dr. Luns, accompanied by key members of The Netherlands Foreign Ministry, is in Israel on an official visit. The Netherlands represents Israeli interests in a number of East European countries with whom Israel currently has no diplomatic relations.

Among the issues discussed at length by Dr. Luns and Mr. Eban was the question of Israel’s relations with the European Common Market. Israel seeks an associate membership and its application has been warmly supported by The Netherlands but has run afoul of French and Italian objections.

According to the official communique, Prime Minister Eshkol reiterated the Israel position on peace to Dr. Luns and said that while Israel desired a stable and lasting peace, “we shall not agree to any temporary and feeble arrangement, even if this would seem to ease the pressure momentarily.” He said that Israel was prepared to enter into direct negotiations with the Arab states and asserted that if the Arabs sincerely wanted peace they would have to educate their people for it and “seek, together with us, a way of mutual coexistence in this part of the world.”

In the Luns-Eban meeting at the Foreign Ministry this morning, Mr. Eban outlined in detail Israel’s attempts to advance peace in the Middle East through Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring, the United Nations special envoy, and in other ways. Dr. Luns had denied, before leaving The Hague, reports that he would seek to act as a mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Dr. Luns told Mr. Eshkol later that he understood Israel’s position and he displayed a deep knowledge of the history of the land and people of Israel. “The world will not again allow Masada to fall,” he declared.

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