Jerusalem, 9 February 1999

Industry And Trade Minister Sharansky Warns Eu Against Connecting Politics to Economic Relations

(Communicated by Industry and Trade Ministry Spokeswoman)

Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky today (Tuesday), 9.2.99, in a meeting with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, stated that the connection the European Union is seeking to make between politics and economic relations damages Israeli-European economic relations on the one hand and limits the possibilities for cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians on the other. "If the Government of Israel had known in advance that the countries of the European Union would link our invitation to participate in the EU Research and Development Plan, in which Israel wishes to join, and regional politics, it is doubtful that I would have succeeded in raising the $160 million that the government budgeted for Israel’s participation," Minister Sharansky said.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Di Rupo said he hoped that the Israeli government would implement the Wye agreement in full.