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Shamir Receives Warm Welcome on ‘private Visit’ to Budapest

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Premier Yitzhak Shamir arrived at Budapest airport Wednesday on a trip seen here as another step in the ongoing thaw between Israel and the Eastern bloc countries.

Although his trip to Hungary is being billed officially as a “private visit,” Shamir is scheduled to meet with Premier Karoly Grosz and Foreign Minister Peter Varkonyi.

Israeli sources expect their talks to cover trade, tourism and the possible upgrading of diplomatic relations.

Israel and Hungary presently maintain interest sections in Budapest and Tel Aviv respectively, the lowest level of official relations between two countries.

Shamir got a “warm welcome” at the airport, according to Israeli reporters with his party. He was greeted by the deputy foreign minister and the chief of protocol, and whisked away to an official guest residence outside the city.

Shamir’s entourage is small, as is the press contingent accompanying it. His hosts had requested a low-key visit. It is assumed here that his trip to Hungary, two months after Foreign Minister Shimon Peres’ brief sojourn in Budapest, was coordinated with Moscow.

Shame will visit Jewish institutions during his stay in the Hungarian capital.

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