WCAR: Israel seeks Benin's support

Cotonou- Benin (PANA) -- The Israeli Prime Minister's diplomatic adviser, Ouadia Soffer, has appealed to President Mathieu Kerekou for Benin's support against the possible condemnation of Israel at the World Conference against racism, to hold 31 August to 7 September in Durban, South Africa.
Speaking to reporters at the end of an audience with Kerekou, Soffer said Benin and the whole of Africa should ensure that none of the resolutions adopted at the Durban summit contain any form of condemnation against Israel.
"We are very concerned about this never-ending war that mobilises 40 percent of our resources and we have urged the Head of State (Benin) to mobilise the public against a resolution condemning our country," Soffer said.
Responding to a question on the reasons for the continuation of the Middle East conflict, Soffer explained that a year ago former Israeli Prime Minister Ehoud Barak had proposed a peace plan in which his country agreed to yield more than it did in the past.
"But Yasser Arafat refused any form of compromise because he is interested in the liquidation of the State of Israel in order to inundate it with 50 million Palestinians," he said, adding that the OLP leader was internationalising a conflict that could have been resolved between the parties concerned.
"The intervention of foreign forces in a conflict does no more than perpetuate it, and Isreal has never encouraged this under any pretext," he said, adding "we are ready to make compromises, negotiate, but no country can accept to have its people persecuted".
With regard to slavery-related prejudices, he recalled that Israel which struggled for ages to obtain compensation for the victims of nazism despite opposition from the West, is conscious of the problem.
No amount of compensation can make up for the extermination of 6 million Jews or the slavery of Africans, he asserted, adding that both Africans and Jews have been victims of discrimination and, for that matter, have a common struggle.
From Benin Soffer goes to Nigeria and several other countries of the sub-region.

28 august 2001 13:19:00

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