BONN (Jan. 26)
Premier Shimon Peres arrived here on a four-day visit to West Germany today for talks with German leaders that are expected to cover the Middle East conflict and proposals for a joint technological research foundation to which both the Israeli government and the Federal Republic would contribute.
Peres is the second incumbent Prime Minister of Israel to visit West Germany–Yitzhak Rabin, when Premier, was here in 1975–and will be the first ever to visit West Berlin, the former capital of the Third Reich. He will go there Wednesday, before returning to Israel.
Peres is on the final leg of a 12-day European trip that took him to Holland and Britain. He has described his mission as aimed at re-enforcing Israel’s political and economic ties with the West Europeans, the member-states of the European Economic Community (EEC) in particular.
Prior to his arrival, a government spokesman, Friedhelm Ost, told reporters that the visit would demonstrate the drawing closer of Israel and West Germany whose special relationship was shaped by the German past.
PERES TO VISIT BERGEN-BELSEN
The Holocaust inevitably came up on Peres’ arrival. The Israeli leader will visit the site of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp near Hannover tomorrow on a private visit before returning to Bonn for talks with Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Peres told the German newspaper Bild that Israelis and Jews all over the world cannot forget the Holocaust “or to let this be forgotten.” He added, “A new Germany has arisen from that hell and that gives me reason for hope.”
Peres is returning the visit to Israel by Kohl in 1984. President Richard von Weizsaecker visited Israel last year, the first German chief of state to do so. Peres spent five days in Britain before coming here. It was announced Friday that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher accepted his invitation to visit Israel and will do so next summer, the first British Prime Minister to visit the Jewish State in that capacity.
BONN PUSHING FOR EURO-ARAB DIALOGUE
Meanwhile, Bonn announced just a day before Peres’ arrival that it is launching a diplomatic campaign for a fresh start to the Euro-Arab dialogue. According to newspapers, Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher has assigned a high ranking diplomat to make the rounds of Arab capitals to promote Bonn’s initiative.
The aim is for the EEC to convene a special meeting of European and Arab Foreign Ministers to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict. Originally an outgrowth of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, the dialogue has until now been confined to economic aid and cultural matters.