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Shamir Gets Down to Work

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Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir was given a reception by senior Foreign Ministry officials on his first day in office today. He told them — with a smile — to cut short the talk and get to work.

Shamir, a Herut hard-liner who abstained when the Knesset voted to approve the Camp David accords and the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, made no comments that might have cast any light on how he plans to deal with the latest developments in the foreign policy field. But he said he was “well aware of the operations of the (Foreign) Ministry.” He has been meeting quietly with Ministry officials since Premier Menachem Begin formally offered him the post to study how it functions.

After he was sworn into office yesterday, Shamir received the resignation of Yosef Ciechanover, Director General of the Foreign Ministry, who said he was quitting for “personal reasons.” Ciechanover was a long-time protege of former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan. When Dayan resigned last Oct. 21, Begin asked Ciechanover to stay on until a new minister was appointed.

Ciechanover asked that his resignation become effective “as soon as possible.” There was no immediate comment from Shamir but observers did not rule out the possibility that if Shamir so wished, Ciechanover would stay on.

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