Future Level of Israeli-austrian Ties Continues to Remain Open

Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres received the Austrian Ambassador, Otto Pleinert, here Monday. But the question remained open as to the future level of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Pleinert reportedly expressed his government’s desire that the former level be restored and Peres responded that this was also the wish of the Israeli government. Pleinert also expressed hope that Israel would soon appoint a new Ambassador to Vienna. It is not known what Peres replied.

Israel has had no Ambassador in the Austrian capital since its envoy, Michael Elizur, retired several months ago. A successor to Elizur has not been named because the government does not want an Ambassador of Israel to present credentials to the Austrian President, Kurt Waldheim, whose Nazi past was exposed during the election campaign last summer.

Pleinert, whose tour of duty in Israel expires in a few months, told reporters after meeting with Peres that he could not rule out the possibility that he will not be replaced, unless a new Israeli Ambassador is sent to Vienna by then.

Pleinert stressed that Austria wants to improve relations with Israel in all spheres. He said a plan was under consideration to send the famed Vienna State Opera to Israel to participate in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Jewish State in 1988.

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