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Israeli Consular Team Departs on Historic Mission to Moscow

A six-man Israeli consular delegation bound for the Soviet Union received a warm sendoff from Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres as they embarked on their mission Sunday.

The group of mid- and junior-level foreign service officers and administrative aides, headed by Russian-born diplomat Meron Gordon, is due in Moscow this Thursday.

They will pick up their Soviet entry visas in the Netherlands, the country that has represented Israeli interests in the USSR since Moscow broke diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967.

Shamir emphasized in his farewell remarks to the group that they will be the first Israeli officials Soviet Jews have seen in Moscow in more than two decades.

Peres reviewed the understandings reached with the Soviets over the functions of the Israeli mission.

They are to concern themselves with the condition of the Israeli Embassy building in Moscow and with other non-political matters.

Israeli policymakers hope that in time, the Soviet authorities will allow the Israelis to perform routine consular functions, such as the issuing of Israeli visas, which currently is done by the Dutch Embassy in Moscow.

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