Israel Issues Visas for Two Soviets Who Plan Official Visit in July

The Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday that Israel has issued visas to members of a Soviet consular delegation due to come to Israel next month.

The visas were issued by the Dutch Embassy in Moscow which represents Israeli interests in the Soviet Union. The delegation will be the first official Soviet body to visit Israel since Moscow broke diplomatic relations after the 1967 Six-Day War. It will be headed by the Deputy Director of the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department, Evgeni Antipov.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman here was unable to give a date for their arrival, say how long the Soviet officials will stay or with whom they would meet.

A report from Paris Wednesday quoted Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadi Gerasimov as saying the mission’s task is “to ascertain the situation of Soviet-owned property in Israel and to provide consular services for Soviet citizens living in Israel.” He reportedly ruled out a reciprocal visit by an Israeli delegation to Moscow.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said Israel was not demanding reciprocity. He added, however, that Foreign Minster Shimon Peres believes that if an Israeli delegation applied for Soviet visas, they would be granted.

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