Peres: Israel ‘seriously Interested’ in Reopening Ties with the USSR

Premier Shimor Peres said today that “Israel was seriously interested in reopening diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union” and indicated that the new Soviet leadership, under Mikhail Gorbachev, could open the way for “a dialogue on all subjects with the Russians.”

Peres made his remarks to Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, during a meeting here with members of the WJC Executive. “The Russians were never our enemies,” he said. Moscow broke diplomatic relations with Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

“With Gorbachev coming to power there could be a new opportunity we shouldn’t overlook. We should attempt to reach a dialogue on all subjects with the Russians,” Peres said. He praised “the most important job” the WJC is attempting on behalf of Soviet Jewry and for Jewish life behind the Iron Curtain.

Bronfman suggested that “The Prime Minister’s words are certain to have a salutory effect in moderating East-West tensions. Such a reduction in tension and renewed dialogue between the superpowers would be good for both East and West as well as Israel and the Jews,” he added.

Peres announced after the meeting an agreement to set up a monthly satellite television hook-up to provide live exchanges between himself and diaspora Jewish leaders at Bronfman’s office in New York.

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