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Shamir Rejects U.S. Aid Link to Peace Talks

September 06, 1991|Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir on Thursday rejected any linkage between a proposed Middle East peace conference and Israel's request for $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to resettle Soviet Jewish immigrants.

Israel is seeking the loan guarantees to help raise funds to absorb Soviet Jewish immigrants. Some 300,000 Soviet Jews arrived since 1989.

Secretary of State James A. Baker III asked Congress on Wednesday to delay considering the aid package. Baker said he fears that the aid issue could interfere "in a very delicate stage" to put together a Middle East peace conference.

Congress will likely go along with the request, at least for now, congressional officials said Thursday.

Israeli diplomats said that despite Baker's comments, Israel's ambassador to Washington, Zalman Shoval, is expected to submit the request for the loan guarantees when he meets Baker today.

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