Portugal Hints It May Establish Diplomatic Relations with Israel

The establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Portugal may be expected soon as a result of contacts during the last two months between representatives of both countries.

A hint of this possibility was made yesterday by Premier Mario Soares of Portugal in a speech to the Parliament in Lisbon. He said his government would embark on an effort to normalize relations between Portugal and Israel and with the People’s ‘Republic of China. Circles in Jerusalem said that Socialist leaders in Western Europe recommended to Soares, who heads the Portuguese Socialist movement, that his government establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

Reports reaching Israel from Portuguese Socialist sources say that Communist and other leftist circles in the previous coalition governments in Portugal opposed the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel. The exclusion of Communists from the Soares Cabinet now opens the way for diplomatic relations. Meanwhile, rumors are rife in Jerusalem that Yaakov Yasor of Mapam is being considered as Israel’s first ambassador to Lisbon if and when relations are established.

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