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Bush Invites Shamir to Washington, Thanks Prime Minister for Letter

President Bush has invited Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to Washington, Israeli Embassy spokesman Yossi Gal said Thursday.

White House and State Department officials would not confirm Bush’s apparent invitation. “We have seen the report, but we do not have a confirmation of it,” a State Department source said.

Gal said there is no definite date for a Shamir visit, but it may occur in April.

Gal said Bush called Shamir Wednesday “to thank him for his congratulatory note or letter that was delivered to the White House.”

The phone call lasted five to six minutes, during which Bush said he enjoyed receiving Shamir’s letter and “promised to keep the good relationship between the two countries.”

A text of the Shamir letter made available by the Israeli Embassy quoted the prime minister as wishing Bush “every success in the task that lies ahead of you.”

“We, in Israel, have the feeling that an old friend is at the helm, who has a deep understanding of our people’s past and of its ongoing struggle for security, peace and economic development,” Shamir said.

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