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E.c. Said to Pressure Efta Nations to Delay Trade Accord with Israel

April 22, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The European Community is reported to be pressuring an association of smaller European nations to delay signing a trade agreement with Israel lest it strengthen Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s hawkish government before the Israeli parliamentary elections on June 23.

“Such an agreement with Israel will increase the strength of Likud, which would see it as European backing for their policy,” the Swiss daily Le Journal de Geneve said.

The pressure is being applied by the E.C.’s Economic Council for Europe on the seven partners of the European Free Trade Association: Austria, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

An EFTA diplomatic source said the E.C. was urging them to suspend negotiations with Israel until it shows greater flexibility and a desire to make more progress in the current peace talks with the Arabs.

The E.C. says, moreover, that it wants more than a token voice in the Middle East peace process.

The Israeli Mission in Brussels, seat of the E.C., is not happy. But the EFTA apparently is not yielding to pressure. It hopes that current negotiations with Israel will culminate in an agreement next month.

The EFTA points out that the E.C. and the United States have each signed trade pacts with Israel, in 1975 and 1985 respectively.

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