Disclose Visit to Israel Last Week by South African Minister

The Foreign Ministry confirmed today that Stephanus Botha, South African Minister for Mining and Labor, had visited Israel last week. The visit was supposed to have been kept secret but was revealed by Botha in an interview on South African television after his return home.

Although Botha met with Premier Yitzhak Rabin, the main purpose of his visit was talks with Haim Barlev, Israel’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, about Israel’s wish to import large quantities of coal from South Africa. The coal will be used at the Hadera power station.

Barlev was invited to visit South Africa and is expected to do so in the near future. Under the economic agreement signed during Prime Minister John Vorster’s visit to Jerusalem last April, official talks must be held annually between South Africa and Israel. Barlev would discuss details of the agreement when he goes to Johannesburg.

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