MADRID (Oct. 26)
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres cut short a European tour here Monday after his wife, Sonia, suffered a heart attack in Jerusalem.
Peres ended up staying here just half a day and managed only to meet with King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez. He was having lunch with Gonzalez when he was told of his wife’s attack. He left shortly afterward.
Peres had been scheduled to meet on Tuesday with his Spanish counterpart, Javier Solana, to discuss bilateral relations, the possibility of increasing Israel’s ties with the European Community and, in particular, the ongoing peace negotiations, which started exactly one year ago in Madrid.
According to Spanish news sources, Solana was especially interested in discussing the negotiations because he had just returned from a trip to Tunis, where he met with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat.
Peres’ European tour was the first he has taken, since Israel’s Labor Party won the Israeli elections last June. He had already been to Germany, the Vatican and France but was planning to go to England and Belgium as well.
Israeli Embassy officials, who said Sonia Peres was in stable condition at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, said they did not know what the minister’s plans: would be or whether he would reschedule the tour.