JERUSALEM (Jan. 19)
The president of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan began a three-day visit to Israel this week by offering a prayer here for eventual Palestinian independence.
At a formal welcoming ceremony Tuesday in the Jerusalem Rose Gardens opposite the Knesset, President Askar Askaev said he would “pray to God to end the longstanding conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people,” and added his hope that independence would eventually be won by the Palestinians.
Askaev arrived Monday night on what is the first visit to Israel by the president of one of the Moslem republics of the former Soviet Union. He held talks with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
A prominent physicist by training, the 48-year-old president invited the Israeli minister of science, Shimon Shetreet, to visit his country.