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Representative of Four Black African Countries Hopeful About Restoring Relations with Israel

December 1, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Gideon Patt, Israel’s Minister of Industry and Trade, who was here attending the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) ministerial conference, met with delegates of four Black African countries which have no diplomatic relations with Israel.

He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency after his meetings that the delegates told him they hoped Israel will strengthen its commercial and industrial ties with their countries. Patt said they hinted that the trade contacts might very well hasten the resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel and expressed hope that Israel would provide their countries with its commercial, trade and industrial know-how.

Patt said he told the delegates that the failure of the recent Organization of African Unity (OAU) conference in Tripoli demonstrated the gap existing between the interests at the Arabs and the Black African nations.


The four delegates, in turn, said that as a result of the failure of the OAU’s conference to resolve differences in the perspectives of the Arab and Black African members of the organization, the Block African states will have to reconsider their policy toward the Arab states and that this might have a positive influence on the resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel.

The delegates were bitter about the fact that the OAU had been turned by the Arabs into a political forum for their objectives and partisan needs instead of working within the organization to assist in developing Black Africa, Patt said.

Black African nations broke their diplomatic relations with Israel at the time of the Yom Kippur War, under Arab pressure and promises from Arab nations that they would provide the economic wherewithal that Israel had been providing for many years. Israel presently has diplomatic relations with Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland. Zaire and Israel resumed diplomatic relations six months ago.

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