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>Israel Faxx
>PD Jan. 10, 1995, V3, #6

New Dead Sea Port Planned

A new port facility will be built at Ein Gedi on the Israeli shore of the Dead Sea for a boat connection between there and the Jordanian tourist installations on the opposite shore. The manager of the Jordanian vacation village, Ma'yan, recently visited the spot and discussed the plan with local tourist officials. He showed enthusiasm for establishing the boat line. The port facilities are expected to take three months to build.

Israel will Help Solve Venezuela's Crime Problem

By Roger Wilkison (Rio de Janeiro)

Venezuela's foreign minister says Israel will give his country security assistance aimed at reorganizing Venezuela's police forces and combatting rampant crime. An agreement is expected to be struck during the visit to Caracas later this week of Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Burelli Rivas told reporters in Caracas Monday that Peres' visit will be followed by that of Israel's police minister, Moshe Shahal. Shahal is expected to discuss with Venezuelan officials ways in which Israeli assistance can be used to deal with a wave of common crime that has become one of the priorities of President Rafael Caldera's government.

Caracas has become one of South America's most violent cities. On a typical weekend in the Venezuelan capital, 30 to 40 people are killed in acts of violence. Burelli said one way the Israelis can help is to make Venezuela's police forces more efficient.

The foreign minister praised Peres, calling him a humanist who sought understanding in the midst of a climate of war that, it seemed, would never end, a reference to Peres' role in forging the most recent peace accords in the Middle East.

Peres, who arrives in Venezuela tomorrow for a 48-hour visit, will meet with Venezuelan leaders and members of the South American country's 35,000 member Jewish community.

Rabin and Perry Warn of Potential Iranian A-bomb

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin say they believe Iran could produce nuclear weapons within seven to 15 years. Perry, on a two-day visit to Israel, reaffirmed the United States commitment to keeping Israel's qualitative military edge.

A main focus of Perry's talks with Israeli leaders has been the possibility that Iran may be developing nuclear weapons. A report out this week says Russia has agreed to complete work on a nuclear power plant in Iran.

Speaking at a news conference in Tel Aviv at the end of his visit to Israel, Perry said that Iran is many years away from developing nuclear weapons, but he is still worried. "They have the possibility, as any country has, the possibility of short-cutting that time, by acquiring either the weapons or the plutonium or highly enriched uranium from some other country. That's a short-cut method, and that is what I'm concerned about. There it's not a matter of working with Iran, it's a matter of working with countries that have that technology or have those weapons, to tighten their controls to reduce the probability of that happening."

Rabin says that from Israel's point of view, Iran represents a short-term threat in its support of radical Islamic terrorism. In the long-term, however, Rabin sees a very real possibility that Iran could develop non-conventional weapons.

Perry had flown to Israel from Egypt, which has complained that Israel refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Rabin says that Israel would like to see a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, based on bilateral agreements between all the countries in the region.

Arafat and Peres Try Solving Autonomy Problems

By Al Pessin (Erez, Israel-Gaza border)

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, meeting at the Erez checkpoint on the Israel-Gaza border reached agreement Monday on several small issues related to implementing the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, and said their talks on broader issues are also moving forward.

The top leaders are supposed to be dealing with the big issues in this peace process -- mutual security, Israeli troop withdrawals and the arrangements for peaceful relations.

On Monday, Peres said they are making progress on those issues, and have agreed not to discuss the details in public. What the two men would talk about were agreements on minor issues.

They reported they reached agreement on the creation of a second Palestinian industrial zone in Gaza, and to hold a special lower-level meeting on the issue of Palestinian prisoners still held by Israel.

They also agreed that Israel will recognize a Palestinian travel document and to hold another meeting by the end of next week, together with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

After their 90-minute meeting, Peres said contrary to the public perception of stalemate, the top-level talks on the key issues are making progress.

Arafat called the meeting "fruitful" and said he is particularly interested in making progress on the prisoners issue, which many prominent Palestinians say could bring the peace process to a halt if it is not solved.

Arafat also said Palestinian negotiators raise the issue of Israeli settlements in every negotiating session. That is the other issue most often mentioned by Palestinians as having the potential to sabotage the peace deal. The Palestinians want the settlements frozen until their future is negotiated, starting in two years. Peres defended the government's policy, saying there will be no new settlements, little government money for expanding current ones, and no land expropriation, except for roadbuilding.

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