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Mitterrand Agrees to Visit Israel, but Underscores Chilly Relations

May 21, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

French President Francois Mitterrand has accepted an invitation from his Israeli counterpart, Chaim Herzog, to visit the Jewish state, and he said he would try to make it before the end of the year.

He would be the first incumbent president of France to visit Israel.

But Franco-Israeli relations are chilly. Mitterrand made that clear by the way he received the new Israeli ambassador, Yehuda-Lancry, when he presented his credentials Wednesday at the Elysee Palace.

Lancry, who came to Paris in February, had an embarrassingly long wait for Mitterrand to receive him so that he could officially begin his diplomatic duties.

The French Foreign Ministry advised the Israeli envoy-designate that the president only accredited ambassadors in batches of five — so he would have to wait until that number accumulated. Lancry was finally presented together with the envoys of Uganda and Mauritius.

The French are known to be piqued with Israel since the Persian Gulf War last year. Mitterrand has obviously not forgiven Israel for accusing France of providing Iraq with technology to upgrade its Scud missiles.

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