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Germany’s Mideast Policy Not Expected to Change Following Election Victory of Kohl’s Cdu

March 9, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

No changes are expected in West Germany’s Middle East policy as a result of the landslide victory of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in last Sunday’s election. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Kohl’s coalition partner, is expected to retain his post as Foreign Minister in the new government.

Genscher was largely responsible for the Venice Declaration adopted by the ministers of the European Economic Community (EEC) member-states in 1980. It called, among other things, for the “association” of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Middle East peace process. It was denounced by Israel.

Although Kohl initially rejected parts of the declaration and some of his aides have dismissed it as outdated and unrealistic, Genscher said only a few days ago that it still reflects EEC policy in the area. He spoke as the current chairman of the EEC Council of Ministers. At the same time, Genscher said that no new European initiatives for the Middle East were contemplated.


While the new CDU-led coalition is expected to be relatively sympathetic toward Israeli positions, the new opposition bloc in the Bundestag poses difficulties. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), traditionally friendly to Israel although it strongly opposed many policies of Premier Menachem Begin’s government, has shifted sharply to the left as a result of the elections. Many of its new members have been extremely critical of Israel.

They are re-enforced by the new Green Party, rooted in pacifist and environmental movements which have displayed pro-Arab tendencies far beyond any previously registered within West Germany’s “established” political community. The Greens, with five percent of the vote, are represented in the Bundestag for the first time.

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