Report: Israeli, Tunisian officials hold contacts
Head of the North Africa and Arab Maghreb department at the Israeli foreign ministry, Shalom Cohen, has recently met the director general of the Tunisian foreign ministry, according to an Israeli daily.
Yediot Ahronot said Monday that Cohen delivered to the Tunisian side a personal message from the Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom, the content of which was not disclosed.
The paper noted that the Israeli official met with senior executives in the Tunisian presidential palace and in the foreign ministry. He also met with representatives of the Jewish community in Tunis.
Diplomatic relations between Tunisia and Israel came to a standstill in October 2000 after eruption of the Palestinian intifada.
The newspaper quoted senior Tunisian officials as telling Cohen that in the event progress was achieved in the peace process then they would re-open the Israeli diplomatic representation office in Tunisia and probably a Tunisian representation office in Tel Aviv.
The Tunisians also asked for cancellation of Israel’s ban on travel of its nationals to Tunisia, which had attracted before the intifada about 10,000 Israeli visitors annually. Israeli political sources, however, said that the ban would be only lifted when the diplomatic representation offices were re-opened.