BONN (Oct. 20)
Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez Marquez is planning to visit Israel after all, despite media reports last week to the contrary.
Sources in Madrid said Gonzalez was irritated by media reports that he was postponing a visit to Israel that he had planned for this fall and has now decided to make the trip as soon as it can be arranged.
Spanish and Israeli officials have met in recent days to discuss the logistics of the visit, which is now expected to take place at the end of November.
Plans to postpone the trip, leaked by diplomatic sources in Madrid, had been seen in Israel as the first serious break in the smooth pace at which Spanish relations with Israel have progressed since they were established in 1986.
A possible side effect of a visit to Israel by the Spanish premier would be the extension of Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Ben-Ami’s posting to Madrid. The envoy had intended to resign at the end of this month in order to take up an academic research position in Washington.
Madrid is also the site of the Middle East peace conference that the United States and Soviet Union will host, beginning Oct. 30.