Israeli-soviet Talks to Begin Monday
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Israeli-soviet Talks to Begin Monday

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Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General Hanon Bar-On and two other senior Ministry officials left Israel for Helsinki Sunday, to prepare for the forthcoming Israeli-Soviet talks.

His departure for the Finnish capital had not been previously announced, and it was not known what, if any, part he will play in the negotiations opening there Monday with Soviet delegates on what the Soviet Union has said will be talks on consular matters.

Bar-On refused to make any statement at the airport before his departure. The head of the Israeli delegation to the talks, Yehuda Horam, left for Helsinki last week, accompanied by Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Ehud Gol, who will serve as spokesman for the delegation.

Horam told reporters at the airport before his departure that Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir had briefed the team and that, in keeping with the government’s decision, the question of Soviet Jewry would be raised at the talks.


But reports from Helsinki say the talks may run into problems as soon as they open as the Russians want to confine the agenda to consular matters only, while the Israeli delegation plans also to raise the question of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union and the freeing of Jewish Prisoners of Conscience.

New immigrants from the Soviet Union, as well as members of the Tehiya Party and a new organization calling itself Israel Action, held demonstrations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Sunday, demanding the inclusion of the Jewish emigration question in the Helsinki talks.

In Jerusalem, the demonstrators chained them selves to a steel chain padlocked across a main street in the middle of the city, causing a mammoth traffic jam. Their spokesman said Israel should put forward prior conditions about the Jewish question before the negotiations begin.


Natan (Anatoly) Shcharansky wrote in an article published in The Jerusalem Post last Friday that linkage between any Soviet consular and property claims in Israel and Israel’s demands for the right of Jews to leave the USSR is an essential key for emigration from the Soviet Union to Israel.

“Testimony to the importance of linkage as a weapon against Soviet repression is provided by the constant Soviet machinations to undermine that linkage, to free themselves of the obligation to honor human rights as a quid pro quo for economic and strategic gains,” Shcharansky said. “We are witness today to a major Soviet propaganda attack against linkage…”

He warned that “If Israel betrays the principle of linkage, it will have dealt a mortal blow to the position of Israel’s champions in the free world who have battled for two decades to establish that principle.”

Shcharansky urged that the right of Jews to emigrate be set forth as a precondition both for progress on consular relations and for further negotiations on improved relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Shimon Peres, asked in a weekend Israel Radio interview whether he thought there was a chance of any political developments in the Helsinki talks, said: “I believe that there is an opportunity, but there is no certainty.” Peres said he had “received various informal messages from the USSR, and I accept them as informal ones.”

“We have an interest in renewing relations with Russia,” Peres said in the interview, “first and foremost, because of our central issue, the fate of the Soviet Jewry, which is at the top of Israel’s considerations, feelings and chances.”

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