Consternation at Eec Report

A news agency report from Brussels Monday that the European Economic Community (EEC) does not plan to open on office in Israel caused embarrassment and consternation in official quarters here. An explicit agreement was reached between Israel and the EEC Commission last summer to the effect that such on office would be opened. The Foreign Ministry here and the Israel Embassy in Brussels said they had received no official word of a reconsideration.

The Brussels report followed an announcement here Sunday by Cabinet Secretary Arye Naor that the EEC would have on office in Tel Aviv and a “branch office” in Jerusalem. Naor said the EEC had agreed to Israel’s request that it be represented in Jerusalem although it refused to have its main office in the city. Naor made it clear that he spoke on the basis of Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s report to the Cabinet Sunday.

EEC ambassadors in Tel Aviv said they knew of no such agreement on the part of the EEC to have a branch office in Jerusalem, Israeli sources explained privately that on understanding to that effect had been reached but not signed, with senior EEC officials. They acknowledged that this was before the Jerusalem Law was passed by the Knesset and the subsequent exodus of all the foreign embassies stationed in Jerusalem.

Diplomatic observers felt that the Brussels report, which quoted on EEC spokesman, reflected the European community’s pique at the Israeli announcement of the understanding. It is not clear now when the EEC office will be opened or whether it will in fact have a branch in Jerusalem. Israeli officials were seeking clarifications, as were the EEC ambassadors in Tel Aviv.

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