JERUSALEM (Aug. 17)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was scheduled to leave Monday evening for a three-day official visit to Rumania. Officials expected Shamir’s talks with Rumanian President Nicolae Ceausescu to center on an international Middle East peace conference, which Shamir still firmly rejects and of which the Rumanian leader has been a long-time advocate.
Ceausescu hosted PLO chairman Yasir Arafat in Bucharest last week.
Ceausescu’s invitation to Shamir is seen as an effort to improve his standing on the world stage and revamp his image as an international statesman. That standing has suffered recently as a result of the decision by the U.S. Congress to withold Most Favored Nation status from Rumania on grounds of human rights abuses.
Israeli sources said Shamir would want to bring up the issue of Soviet Jewish emigration with Ceausescu and his aides. The idea of emigrants flying through Bucharest direct to Tel Aviv has long been mooted as a partial solution to the problem of “neshira” (dropping out).