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August 29, 1986 - Image 60

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-08-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NEWS

Peres' Cameroon Visit
Renews Official Ties

Is GOING PLACES

And Beginning September 5,
We'd Like To Take You Along

Jerusalem (JTA) —
President Paul Biya of Came-
roon announced Tuesday that
his country was resuming-,
diplomatic relations with Is :-
rael, 13 years after it had se-,
vered ties at the height of the.
Yom Kippur War. The an-
nouncement capped the two-
day visit by Israel's Premier
Shimon Peres, the first Is-
raeli head of government to
visit Cameroon since 1966.
Peres and Biya held sev-
eral rounds of talks on bilat-
eral matters and announced
that cooperative agreements
had been reached on trade,
industry, agriculture, tourism
and security. There was no
immediate indication that
agreement had been reached
on Israel military aid to
Cameroon, although this
issue was an expected topic
on the Peres-Biya agenda.
At a meeting with report-

ers Monday, Biya said that
Cameroon's decision to re-
store ties with Israel was the
result of ongoing relations
between the two countries
during the past few years.
According to Israeli officials,
the two countries have had
secret trade relations since —'
1981.
When Biya took power in
1983, Israel was allowed to
establish an interest section
in Yaoude, the capital of
Cameroon. Since then, Came-
roon re-evaluated the situa-
tion of Israeli-Black African
relations, Biya said.
Cameroon is the fourth
black African nation — after
Ivory Coast, Liberia and
Zaire to resume relations.
Twenty-nine African coun-
tries severed ties with Israel
under Arab pressure in the
wake of the 1973 Yom Kip-
pur War. Only Lesotho,

Israel's Quiet Efforts
Are Paying Off Now

That's the day we unveil our new arts &
entertainment section. We'll introduce
you to some of the most interesting —
and entertaining — people in town.
We'll give you Going Places, an easy-
to-use, hard-to-put-down calendar of up-
coming events covering synagogue con-
certs, Silverdome sporting events . .
and almost everything in between.

Add to this our dazzling array of restau-
rant and entertainment advertising,
hard-hitting reviews and the popular
Danny Raskin columns and you have a
lineup that will meet almost every inter-
est and taste — including yours.

THE JEWISH NEWS

60

Friday, August 29, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

A year ago, in an article I
wrote about a two-week
visit to West Africa focusing
on Israel's efforts to renew
diplomatic ties with coun-
tries in the region, I con-
cluded that "all indications
point to a continuing trend
of improved relations" be-
tween Israel and Ivory
Coast and Cameroon.
Six months ago, Israel
re-established diplomatic
ties with Ivory Coast; this
past week, Israel and
Cameroon renewed diploma-
tic ties in dramatic fashion
when Israeli Prime Minister
Shimon Peres brought with
him to Cameroon a 17-man
medical team along with
tons of medical supplies as
part of an emergency effort
in the wake of a gas erup-
tion that killed more than a
thousand people.
The Israeli effort in
Cameroon made headlines
around the world, but it is
actually in keeping with a
long-standing effort by.
Jerusalem to resume dip-
lomatic relations with those
African countries that broke
off such ties, under
presssure from the Arabs, at
the end of the 1973 Yom
Kippur War.
The decline of Arab oil
influence, the moderate
image of Shimon Peres, and
the American humbling of
Libya's Qaddafi — who has
threatened any African na-
tion dealing with Israel —
are reasons cited as to why
there has been an easing of
Israel's diplomatic isolation
of late.
Israel maintained a
flourishing economic rela-
tionship with Cameroon
during the diplomatic dry
spell, as well as offering ex-

pertise in areas of agricul-
ture, water problems and
de-forestation. But officials
in Yaounde, the lush and
hilly capital, were sensitive
to published reports that Is-
rael was training a
presidential guard to protect
President Paul Biya.

Unique among African
leaders, Biya is considered a
pragmatic intellectual with
a sincere desire to help his
countrymen, more commit-
ted to enriching his nation
than his own pockets. Dur-
ing a meeting with him in
his splendid executive
palace, our group was im-
pressed with his warm and
articulate observations
about Israel and the impor-
tance of working with the
Jewish State.

An indication of Came-
roon's good will and primi-
tive ways is the fact that
when Peres arrived in
Yaounde this week, he was
given a hereo's welcome at
the airport and a copy of a
special issue of The Came-
roon Tribune, which pub-
lished the Israeli Prime
Minister's photo on the
front page and huge Hebrew
letters reading, "Mr. Peres,
Welcome To Cameroon."
The Israelis seemed to ap-
preciate the gesture, in
spite of the fact that the
Hebrew letters were printed
upside down.
It is a shame that world
attention is fodused on
Cameroon now because of
the tragic explosion there,
but it is only appropriate
that people reading of the
event take note of the fact
that it was Israel that was
first to the rescue.

Gary Rosenblatt

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