Zaire draws fire over Israeli tie

The Arab states stepped up their campaign to maintain a nine-year-old African diplomatic boycott of Israel after it was breached last week by Zaire.

Saudi Arabia told Zaire's charge d'affaires in Jiddah it had decided to cut off relations with the African country, the official Saudi press agency said.

The Saudi move was the strongest reaction from the Arab and Muslim world to Zaire's decision to restore diplomatic ties with Israel and its reported plan to set up an embassy in Jerusalem.

Backing off from earlier declarations, Zaire's ambassador to Belgium, Kengo Wa Dondo, said in Brussels his country's embassy would be in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.

In Damascus, Syria called on the 22-member Arab League to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the Zairean step and take the ''necessary measures, '' official sources said.

The sources did not spell out the measures, but the official newspaper al-Thawra said Arab countries would impose economic and political sanctions on African countries restoring ties with Israel, besides cutting off diplomatic relations.

Zaire, along with most other African countries, broke off relations with Israel in 1973 at the request of Arab states seeking the return of occupied Arab land. It is the first African country to resume ties, citing Israel's complete withdrawal from Sinai.

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