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Soviet Foreign Minister Rejects Linkage Proposal by Peres

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Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze rejected Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres’ view that Soviet participation in a peace conference on the Middle East be linked to the resumption of diplomatic relations between Israel and the USSR and to the Soviets opening wider the gates to Jewish emigration.

He told a press conference here last Friday that there was no linkage between the resumption of diplomatic relations and the USSR’s participation in the conference. Regarding the conference, he said “The USSR is most interested in having it convened and is doing all it can to promote it.” He added that he was gratified to note that there is a growing awareness in the international community that such a conference was a necessity.

Shevardnadze said he thought that Peres was more flexible on the issue of Soviet participation than other Israeli political leaders. He emphasized for a second time at the conference that there was no linkage. He refrained from dealing with the issue of Soviet Jewish emigration. The Soviet diplomat was here to hold talks with American officials on disarmament.

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