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Soviets Rebuff Shamir’s Request for Resumption of Diplomatic Ties

December 1, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Soviet Union has rejected a direct request from Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to restore diplomatic relations with Israel, insisting it must first deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The request was relayed to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on Thursday by the Italian prim minister, Giulio Andreotti, with whom Shamir met last week, Italian government spokesman Pio Mastrobuoni disclosed at a news conference here.

Gorbachev is spending three days in Rome, prior to his shipboard summit meeting with President Bush on Saturday and Sunday.

Soviet spokesman Gennady Gerasimov summarized Gorbachev’s response to the Israeli request.

“We are ready for this step on condition in the Israeli government makes steps forward in the dialogue with the PLO,” he said.

Gerasimov said the Middle East would be a key subject at the summit this weekend.

Moscow severed ties with Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War. Gerasimov said their restoration has “to be viewed within the context of the normalization of the whole Middle East situation.”

He said Andreotti and Gorbachev both criticized Israel for “intransigence” at their meeting.

Gerasimov stressed, however, that the Soviet Union and Israel have regular contacts, including meetings between their foreign ministers and through consular missions in their respective countries.

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