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Soviet Jewry Issue at Madrid Confab

February 25, 1983
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Ambassadors from the 10 European Economic Community (EEC) countries attending the Madrid conference on human rights promised a Jewish delegation on Tuesday that they would insist that the issue of the rights of Soviet Jewry be specifically included in any final agreement. The 10 envoys also said they will continue to consider the question of Soviet Jewry as a prime objective at the conference

The Jewish delegation, comprising three West European Chief Rabbis, representatives of the World Jewish Congress, and a representative of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, also conferred with representatives of the neutral and non-aligned countries and with the American delegate, Ambassador Max Kempelman. The Italian Ambassador later paid tribute to the group for refraining from taking a “cold war posture” and for having been “as constructive as possible.”

The Madrid meeting took place as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is based on the Helsinki agreements, was drawing to a close. The conference has been meeting for over a year to try and work out a new agreement and to see to it that the old one is better implemented.

According to reports from Madrid, members of the World Jewish Congress delegation also met with Soviet representatives who reiterated Moscow’s invitation for WJC president Edgar Bronfman and WJC executive director Israel Singer to pay an official visit to the Soviet Union. Chief Rabbi Rene Sirat of France told a press conference that he, too, received an invitation from Moscow’s Chief Rabbi and accepted it. Sirat said “only the date of the visit must now be fixed.”

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