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Peres is U.s.-bound

Shimon Peres, travelling to the United States Monday for the first time as Israel’s Foreign Minister, said Sunday night that he would concentrate his efforts on attracting American investment capital for the Negev.

At Peres’ initiative, the Negev 2000 Association unveiled a plan for a new deep-water port at Eilat to replace the present limited facilities and clear valuable stretches of coastline for tourist beach developments.

Binyamin Yassour, head of the Association, told The Jerusalem Post that overseas funding for Negev projects would be forthcoming if the government endorsed the projects. He said the new port would help boost Israel’s trade with Australasia and southeast Asia. Ships from those regions calling at Eilat have a shorter trip and avoid the Suez Canal tolls.

While in the U.S., Peres will address the General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations in Chicago Thursday night and meet with Jewish leaders from all parts of the country. He will also meet with Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

Minister-Without-Portfolio Moshe Arens, a close political associate of Premier Yitzhak Shamir, will also go to the U.S. this week. Government sources indicated he would have talks in Washington and arrange for Shamir’s first visit to the U.S. as Premier, probably early next year.

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