Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018
TEL AVIV

'Andreotti, a friend of Israel and a great politician'

English
© ANSA

(see related)
Tel Aviv, May 6 - The late seven-time Italian
premier Giulio Andreotti may have been pro-Arab, but he always
had an eye towards Israel, a top aide to former premier Yitzhak
Shamir told ANSA on Monday.
"He was of great help to us in getting Soviet Jews out of
the USSR," said Avi Pazner, who served as Israeli ambassador to
Italy in the early 1990s. "He always did things with a lot of
skill and discretion. That was his style".
Andreotti in 1991 suggested holding the next round of
Middle East peace talks in Rome "in order to give the
negotiations some breathing room, but the Americans were against
it," Pazner recalled.
The first Italian premier ever to participate in Israeli
Independence Day celebrations at the Rome embassy, Andreotti was
interested in Hebrew culture and in Europe's Judeo-Christian
roots.
He and Shamir were known to hold long talks about Italy's
Middle Eastern policy, Pazner went on.
"Obviously their views diverged significantly, but there
was always an admiration for the man's character, for his
preparation and his capacity for dialogue. He was one of Italy's
great politicians," said Pazner, adding that Andreotti could not
have committed the many crimes he was indicted for.
The late Christian Democratic leader's judicial troubles
were his greatest struggle later in life, Pazner added.
Andreotti was given a 24-year jail term in 2002 for
conspiracy to murder a muckraking journalist, Mino Pecorelli, in
1979.
The State's highest appeals court in October 2003
overturned the verdict.
"I threw a little party before leaving Rome, and he was one
of the guests. He told me, 'I pray God grants me to live long
enough to see my innocence upheld'," Pazner recalled.
"I've never believed any of that stuff. That was not
Andreotti," he concluded.

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