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Clark Expresses Canadian Support for Israel, but Says Palestinians Have Right to Home on West Bank

External Affairs Minister Joe Clark today reaffirmed Canadian support for Israel’s right to live within secure and internationally recognized borders while at the same time indicating support for the right of the Palestinians to a home on the West Bank.

Clark also stressed in an address to the annual conference for members of Parliament in Ottawa that the Canadian government will continue to pursue a policy of strengthening ties with Israel on both political and economic grounds. The conference was organized by the Canada-Israel Committee.

Clark noted that he had conferred this morning with Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir who arrived here for a six day visit. He will hold talks with government officials, including Clark, although he will not hold a meeting with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who has gone to Moscow to attend the funeral of Soviet President Kanstantin Chernenko.

In his speech, Clark noted that Shamir and he had differences on the various aspects of the Middle East. But, he said, Canadian policy supports efforts made by Israel to implement the troop withdrawal from Lebanon and we stress again Israel’s right to secure land and the right of the Palestinians for a home on the West Bank.”

The Canadian official announced that the government will soon release a “green paper” on foreign policy in which for the first time, he said, Canada will publicly stress Israel’s security and well being. He said the paper will specifically underline the international and economic conditions between Canada and Israel.

Next week, Clark noted that a special economic and technological agreement will be signed between Canada and Israel. It will grant for the first time EI AI, Israel’s national airlines, with landing rights in Toronto. EI AI had requested this of the Canadian government for many years, Clark said. EI AI has been flying to Montreal for more than a decade.

In June, Clark added, a Canadian delegation will visit Israel to discuss technological and economic issues. He said he had also accepted an invitation from Shamir to visit Israel. He said he accepted the offer and would visit Israel in the framework of a visit to the Middle East.

Shamir, meanwhile, today asked Canada to participate in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), the peacekeeping force composed of 10 nations in the Sinai. Canada has 225 troops stationed in the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria, but none in the MFO.

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