TEL AVIV (Sep. 23)
Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir appears to agree with Premier Shimon Peres that Peres’ meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in New York Monday began a process that could lead to normal relations between Israel and the Soviet Union. Shamir called the meeting an encouraging step toward renewed contacts between Israeli and Soviet representatives and said it was in Israel’s interests to have normal relations with the Soviet Union. He spoke to reporters at Ben Gurion Airport before his departure at midnight for the U.S., a few hours before Peres arrived at the airport from an eight-day visit to the U.S. and Canada.
Shamir, who switches jobs with Peres next month under the Labor Likud rotation of power agreement, will attend the 41st session of the United Nations General Assembly. He said he would be meeting with the Foreign Ministers of 25-30 countries, including some from the Soviet bloc, Africa and Asia with which Israel has no diplomatic relations. Shamir began a hectic round of meetings in New York Tuesday. (See related story.) Peres told reporters on landing early Tuesday morning that his trip to the U.S. had been fruitful and made possible the continuation of his government’s policies in both economic and political fields. He said the American Administration responded positively to Israel’s economic proposals which focussed on investment rather than additional financial aid.
Politically, Peres said, the foundations were laid for continuing the peace process in the Middle East which, in itself, is a contribution to peace. He said an international peace conference remains on the agenda.
Peres added little by way of detail to his remarks in New York Monday about his meeting with Shevardnadze. He said there was agreement between himself and the Soviet Foreign Minister to continue taking steps to normalize relations between their countries.
“Many things were opened in the talk, but I cannot say that they were also finalized,” Peres said. “I cannot say we have reached a solution on the subject (of Jewish emigration from the USSR), but it has opened an operational opportunity– an operational window–namely, that we can go and continue our talks and see if we can reach a common ground.”