Jerusalem, 10 December 1995

ORGANIZATION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

On Thursday, 7.12.95, the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) opened in Budapest. Israel participating as an associate member alongside other Mediterranean states (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria) has sent a delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ehud Barak; this is the first time that an Israeli foreign minister has attended the annual meeting of the OSCE’s Foreign Ministers’ Council.

In presenting its positions, the Israeli delegation stated that an important aspect of the peace process is the creation of a series of multilateral confidence-building measures in the field of security, and Israel is interested in learning from Europe’s experience in this regard. Israel proposed to host a regional seminar on this issue in 1996.

Foreign Minister Barak reviewed the achievements of the peace process to date, adding that peace with Syria is a strategic Israeli interest but a strategic Syrian interest as well.

Israel also offered to assist in restoring Bosnia’s democracy by sending observers to the elections to be held there, and by volunteering to send humanitarian aid, as it has done in the past.

During the conference, the Foreign Ministers of Israel and of the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia signed an agreement establishing diplomatic relations; Israel’s ambassador in Sofia will soon present his credentials to the President of Macedonia, serving as a non-resident ambassador in Skopje. Barak and his Macedonian counterpart expressed their shared hope that these relations will grow closer, particularly in the areas of culture and economics. It was also noted that various possibilities for cooperative ventures between the two countries will be considered.

Barak also met with his counterparts from Russia, Romania, Portugal, Norway, Denmark and Canada as well as with US Under-Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, and with the President

and Foreign Minister of Hungary.