JERUSALEM (Jan. 8)
Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Horn arrived in Israel on Sunday for the first official visit from Budapest since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations in September after a 22-year break.
But uncertainty hovered over reports that a high-ranking Czechoslovak delegation was coming to discuss the restoration of diplomatic ties with Prague.
The newspaper Yediot Achronot said the Czechs were due here Monday to confer with Foreign Minister Moshe Arens, but the group had not arrived by midday.
While there was no confirmation of the newspaper story, angry government officials complained that its publication was damaging.
The new Czech president, Vaclav Havel, said shortly after his election by Parliament on Dec. 29 that he intended to restore relations with Israel and with the Vatican.
Yediot Achronot said the Czechs would reestablish full diplomatic ties in one step, skipping the intermediate stages adopted by Poland and Hungary.
Czechoslovakia, like all countries within the Soviet orbit except Romania, severed ties with Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War.
HUNGARY SHARES E.C. POSITION
Hungarian Minister Horn, meanwhile, declared on his arrival that Hungary shares the European Community position on the Middle East conflict.
The E.C. calls for an international peace conference under U.N. auspices with the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a scenario unconditionally rejected by Israel.
After conferring with Arens, however, Horn modified his statement saying that while Hungary favored an international conference, it was up to the parties involved to determine the best path to peace.
Arens said Israeli technical know-how and economic contacts could help Hungary make the transition from its communist economy to a freemarket system.
Horn and Arens signed agreements on culture, education and science.
Hungary restored diplomatic relations with Israel on Sept. 18, after an 18-month period during which an Israeli consular section headed by Shlomo Marom operated in Budapest.
Marom was promptly named ambassador to Hungary. Budapest has not yet sent an ambassador to Tel Aviv but is expected to shortly.
Poland and Israel exchanged interests sections in 1989 but no further progress has been made toward the restoration of full diplomatic ties.
The same is true of Israel and the Soviet Union.
The Soviets sent a consular delegation to Tel Aviv in 1987, ostensibly to look after Soviet property and nationals in Israel.
Israel was allowed to reciprocate with a consular mission in Moscow in 1989.