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December 11, 1992 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-12-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Peres Visit
Breaks The Ice

Vienna (JTA) — Israeli For-
eign Minister Shimon Peres
met here this week with top
Austrian officials, breaking
the ice in the chilly diplo-
matic relations the two
countries have shared for
the past two decades.
Mr. Peres, who is the first
Israeli foreign minister to
visit the Austrian capital
since 1973, invited
Chancellor Franz Vranitzky
to reciprocate. And he ex-
tended a similar invitation
to Austrian President
Thomas Klestil on behalf of
his Israeli counterpart,
Chaim Herzog.
Mr. Vranitzky is planning
a trip to Israel as early as
next spring, and Klestil an-
nounced that he would like
to visit the Jewish state
sometime next year.
Relations between Israel
and Austria have been
strained since the early
1970s, when Bruno Kreisky
was chancellor. Though Jew-
ish himself, Mr. Kreisky
maintained close ties with
the Palestine Liberation
Organization and often
differed sharply with Israel
over Middle East policy.
But bilateral relations
sunk to a new low with the
election of Kurt Waldheim
as Austrian president in
June 1986. Prior to the elec-
tion, the World Jewish Con-
gress revealed that Mr.
Waldheim had concealed his
membership in the Nazi
Party and his World War II
service in a Germany army
unit accused of perpetrating
atrocities against civilians
in Greece and the Balkan
states.
An easing of the cool ties
between the two countries
began during the last year of
Mr. Waldheim's presidency,
which ended last July.
Exchange visits have been
made by the mayors of
Vienna and Jerusalem, and
by the education ministers of
both countries.
"The substance of our rela-
tions was always very good.
Now, we also note an im-
provement in the formal
part of our relations," Mr.
Klestil said at his meeting
with Mr. Peres.
Vranitzky welcomed the
end to the slowdown in links
between the two countries.
"Relations between the two
countries can now return to
the level which befits these
two countries," the
chancellor said in a meeting
of close to an hour with Mr.
Peres.

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