JERUSALEM (Jan. 4)
Vassily Pugnan, an aide to President Nicolae Ceausescu of Rumania, is due here this week for talks with Premier Menachem Begin and other government officials, it was announced today. He has visited Israel in the past on special missions for Ceausescu.
Israel Radio said today that Pugnan would see Begin privately and would also meet with economic ministers about increasing trade between the two countries. Begin visited Rumania shortly after he took office in 1977. He and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt later affirmed that Ceausescu had played a behind-the-scenes role in Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem and peace initiative in November, 1977.
In September, 1979, Pugnan visited Israel on a mission for the Rumanian President. A Kuwaiti newspaper claimed at the time that his purpose was to set up a secret meeting between Begin and President Hafez Assad of Syria. Begin acknowledged later that Ceausescu had been interested in engineering such a contact but there had been “no change” in Syria’s position as a result of his efforts.