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German Foreign Minister to Visit Israel, Tunisia

German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel will fly to Tunisia directly from Tel Aviv next Thursday, after a two-day official visit in Israel.

But German sources here denied that the minister was planning a meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat, whose organization is based in the Tunisian capital.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin, who is visiting Bonn, said Thursday that he would not voice an opinion about whether or not Kinkel should meet certain personalities in Tunis.

“We are not issuing entry visas to Tunisia,” he said. “This is not our business.”

Earlier, officials of the Israeli Embassy here had voiced displeasure with Kinkel’s plan to go to Tunisia directly from Israel. Some privately complained about the Germans’ “insensitive” behavior.

But they have been assured by German officials that Kinkel has not scheduled any meetings with Arafat.

Beilin said he expected Germany to help Israel deepen its involvement with United Nations institutions. He also urged the Germans to play a more active role in the peace process and to show interest in regional economic development projects.

Beilin praised Germany’s new draft legislation to make the Arab boycott against Israel illegal in this country. But the legislation is not expected to be adopted before May next year, because the industrial sector has asked for time to prepare itself for the shift.

The proposed legislation would make it illegal to sign any document declaring that a company or individual is refraining from doing business with Israel. Such documents have been demanded in many cases by Arab governments or Arab companies dealing with German business partners.

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