TEL AVIV (Nov. 19)
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Wednesday that Israel does not plan to upgrade its diplomatic representation in Austria. This apparently means that Israel will not name a replacement for Michael Elizur, the former Ambassador in Vienna, who retired several months ago.
The Vienna Embassy is presently headed by a Charge d’Affaires. A new Ambassador would have to present his credentials to President Kurt Waldheim whose Nazi past was exposed during the Austrian election campaign last summer.
Peres, replying to questions in the Knesset, said Israel’s position toward Austria would depend in the long run on world reaction to Waldheim. He noted that U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz has refrained from meeting with Waldheim. But Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze has called on him.
According to Peres, Israel’s diplomatic stance will not have any affect on Vienna’s continued role as a transit point for Jews leaving the Soviet Union for Israel.