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(tomorrow: Part Two) Ceausescu: Mideast Faces Important Moment in the Search for Peace

April 18, 1985
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President Nicolae Ceausescu of Rumania is convinced that the Middle East “now faces an important moment in the search for peace.” He holds that view as a result of his recent meetings with various Arab leaders and with Israeli Premier Shimon Peres, according to Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation of New York, who had a 40-minute private meeting with the visiting Rumanian leader at the Governor General’s residence here Monday night.

Schneier, who is spiritual leader of the Park East synagogue in New York, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Ceausescu believes that Middle East peace eventually will have to come about through an international conference and that the Soviet Union cannot be excluded from the process. Rumania is the only Communist bloc country that maintains diplomatic relations with Israel.

Ceausescu is on a state visit to Canada which began Sunday and ends today. Schneier told the JTA that their meeting was the latest in a series of periodic meetings he has had with the Rumanian President to exchange views on the international situation. Schneier also met yesterday with the Rumanian Foreign Minister, Stefan Andrei.

He said that at the moment, Jewish emigration from Rumania is not an issue. Rumania enjoys most favored nation (MFN) trade status with the U.S. largely on the basis of its emigration policies which are reviewed annually by Washington.


Ceausescu did not go into the matter of Soviet emigration policies. But, according to Schneier, he believes that the new young leadership in the Kremlin, in the person of Mikhail Gorbachev, may end the freeze in U.S.-Soviet relations though there will be no basic changes in Soviet policy generally.

Jewish emigration from the USSR has increased when detente prevailed between Moscow and Washington and has dwindled when relations between the two were frozen. Schneier said Ceausescu sensed the possibility of a “spring thaw” but stressed that the most important issue between the two superpowers is arms reduction, currently the subject of negotiations in Geneva. He thought there has to be positive responses from both sides, Schneier said.

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