TEL AVIV (Dec. 16)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said in Buenos Aires yesterday that Argentine officials have promised him to investigate the disappearance of hundreds of Jews among the thousands of other Argentine citizens who have disappeared during the recent years of political turmoil in Argentina.
According to reports from the Argentine capital, Shamir who is on an official visit there, said he had “received certain clarifications and a pledge that they will treat the problem in a positive manner.” He indicated that he approached Argentine government officials on the matter at the request of Jewish families, some of whose relatives vanished in a general crackdown an alleged leftist dissidents which began in the late 1970s.
Shamir promised to raise the question of missing Jews before he left for Argentina last Sunday. But Israeli sources said the main purpose of his visit was to consolidate Israel’s ties with Argentina and to counter that country’s increasingly warm relations with some Arab states.
In a telephone interview from Buenos Aires with the Israel Army Radio yesterday, Shamir denied flatly that he was negotiating Israeli arms sales to Argentina. “It’s not my area of activity,” he said. Shamir has acknowledged that Israel shipped arms to Argentina during its war with Britain over the Falkland Islands last spring but insisted that this was only in fulfillment of prior contracts.