PARIS (Jun. 22)
Israeli Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir will inaugurate on Monday the Israeli-European Economic Community Chamber of Commerce here. Shamir is scheduled to arrive Monday in Paris for a three day working visit during which he will confer with both President Francois Mitterrand and Premier Jacques Chirac.
The new Chamber of Commerce will link Israel to the 12-member state EEC, Israel’s main foreign trading partner. Chirac, as well as French Finance Minister Edouard Baladur, will attend the inauguration ceremony in the French Senate.
French officials say Chirac plans to use the opportunity to stress that France’s improved relations with Syria, Algeria and Iran will not be at Israel’s expense.
Chirac phoned on Sunday Syrian President Hafez El Assad to thank him for his help in securing the release of two of the nine French hostages held by Shiite extremists in Lebanon. The two, French TV reporters arrived Saturday night in Paris after a three month captivity.
In a public statement, Chirac thanked Syria, Algeria and Iran for their aid but said that France will not change its former policies in the area. He was referring at the time to France’s close ties with Iraq but officials here say that he plans to stress Monday that this also applies to Israel.
Shamir will meet with Chirac twice. First he will be the Prime Minister’s Luncheon guest at the Hotel Matignon and then the two, accompanied by Israeli Ambassador Ovadia Soffer, will drive together to the Senate building for the official inauguration.