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Bonn Officials Stressing Balance in Relations with Israel, Arab States

Bonn officials made it clear today that Chancellor Willy Brandt’s visit to Israel this June will not change West Germany’s policy of “balanced relations” with Middle East countries. Karl Moersch, the Parliamentary Secretary of State in the Foreign Office, said that if Brandt chose to visit Israel first, it was not an expression of preference.

In an interview with “Deutsche Welle,” Moersch indicated that the Chancellor may visit a number of Arab states this autumn. Foreign Aid Minister Erhard Eppler told a correspondent for Egypt’s semi-official newspaper Al Ahram that Brandt will visit Algeria soon. He said he had accepted an invitation from the Algerian government some time ago but no date has been fixed. Other Bonn officials are stressing that there was no difference in West Germany’s view between Israel and the Arab states, although Bonn-Israel relations were conditioned by special problems arising from the past.