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Coca-Cola Dropped From Arab Black List; Maxwell Added Version also moving on general news

May 6, 1991

Coca-Cola Dropped From Arab Black List; Maxwell Added Version also moving on general news wires

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) _ Coca-Cola has been removed from an Arab black list of companies doing business with Israel, while 104 subsidiaries under media magnate Robert Maxwell have been added to the ban.

Also banned Sunday by the Arab League boycott office were London-based Courtaulds PLC, a chemicals and materials manufacturer with 59 subsidiaries on the boycott list, and several U.S. and other foreign companies.

Maxwell, the British-based publisher, apparently fell afoul of the boycott office for his 1988 purchase of one-third of Israel’s Maariv newspaper. He later increased that stake.

He also is on the board of the Jerusalem Post, but does not hold a financial interest in it.

A black-listed company is banned both from operations and sales in Arab countries, though some nations enforce bans more than others.

The Coca-Cola Company, based in Atlanta, Ga., had been on the black list for more than 20 years for doing business with Israel.

But it was unofficially removed two years ago. Egypt, Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have permitted bottling plants and Coca-Cola sponsored a World Youth Soccer tournament in Saudi Arabia in 1989.

Coca-Cola spokesman Carlton Curtis said Sunday the company was not aware the boycott had been officially lifted.

″We have been hearing that rumor for some time. But we haven’t received any official notice of that action,″ he said. ″If it turns out to be true, of course, we would be very pleased with that.″

Maxwell recently bought the New York Daily News. His Mirror Group Newspapers publish some of Britain’s most widely circulated papers.

He also owns Maxwell Satellite Communications and Maxwell Communication Corp. PLC, including book publishers MacMillan, Colliers Encyclopedia, the Berlitz language schools and the Official Airlines Guide.

The boycott office said 104 Maxwell subsidiaries were covered by the ban.

The boycott was begun in 1951 to discourage foreign companies from doing business with Israel, which remains technically at war with most Arab countries.

The United States in 1976 banned its companies from complying with the boycott list.

U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III in March asked Arab governments to end the boycott policy to pave the way for peace talks.

He also asked Israel to reciprocate by halting deportations and other punitive measures against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Neither side has followed his suggestion.

Also added to the boycott list Sunday were two American companies, LeClic Products Inc. and Phoenix Ware; Spain’s Codorniu S.A., a producer of sparkling wines, and Control Electronico Intergrado, S.A., a maker of security systems; France’s Sodepneu, and Germany’s Stollwerk, a Cologne-based food company.

Removed from the list were three other American companies: Tulsa, Okla.- based The Williams Companies, Helene Curtis Inc. and The Home Insurance Co.

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