Liberian President Samuel K. Doe and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed an agreement today calling for cooperative measures that Israelis hope will help reestablish a diplomatic foothold in black Africa.
The agreement calls for Israeli advisers in the fields of agriculture, finance, transportation and road construction to be dispatched to Liberia in the fall.
Both Israeli and Liberian officials said there was no agreement on Israeli military assistance to Liberia, although the Liberians expect to receive Israeli intelligence information on the activities of Libyan Col. Muammar Qaddafi in Africa. Israeli officials say African fears of Qaddafi are assisting them in a diplomatic drive to restore relations with black African states, most of which severed diplomatic ties with Israel following the 1973 Middle East war.
Doe, who is due to leave Friday, canceled a scheduled news conference appearance today and was replaced by his foreign minister, Ernst Easman.
Easman confirmed that Liberia will reestablish its embassy in Jerusalem, where it was located until diplomatic ties were broken on Nov. 2, 1973. This represented a victory for the Israelis, who see the establishment of embassies in Jerusalem as strengthening their claim that the city is Israel's "undivided, eternal capital"--a claim not recognized by the United States or most other countries.
Easman said Liberia hoped to benefit from the cooperative agreements with Israel but the "fundamental imperative" behind the decision to resume diplomatic relations was a conviction that it was the morally right step to take. He said Doe has raised the subject of Israel's close ties with South Africa and the Liberians were encouraged by the "clear and unequivocal condemnation of apartheid" voiced by Israeli President Chaim Herzog.
Liberia is the second of the black African states that broke diplomatic relations with Israel in 1973 to restore them. The first was Zaire, which resumed formal ties with Israel last year but maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.