Genscher’s View of West Germany’s Middle East Policy

Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told a group of Arab officials here that there is a continuity in the Middle East policy of the new West German government headed by Chancellor Helmut Kohl and that of the previous government under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

Genscher, a member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) who served as Foreign Minister in both governments, said Bonn still supports the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and still adheres to the 1980 Venice declaration by the heads of the 10 European Economic Community (EEC) member states which, among other things, called for the “association” of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Middle East peace process.

Genscher’s remarks once again underlined apparent differences over Middle East policy within the governing Christian Democratic Union-FDP coalition. While Kohl appears to be moving toward an improvement of relations with Israel and plans to visit that country next year, Deputy Foreign Minister Juergen Moellemann recently warned Israel not to entertain the “Illusion” that Bonn’s policy has changed.

Moellemann also contradicted a recent statement by his fellow Deputy Foreign Minister, Alois Mertes, that the Venice declaration is not relevant to the Middle East policies of the present government.

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