Minister says Holocaust reparations agreement final

23rd November 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 November 2007, Tel Aviv - German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said Thursday on a visit to Israel that his country would not renegotiate a Holocaust reparations deal signed with Israel.

23 November 2007

Tel Aviv - German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said Thursday on a visit to Israel that his country would not renegotiate a Holocaust reparations deal signed with Israel.

Steinbrueck, speaking after meeting with representatives of Holocaust survivors' organizations, said the deal signed in 1952 is "final" and Germany has no plans to expand it in the future.

However, he said Germany would try to help needy survivors via the Claims Committee, the international organization that coordinates compensation payments to survivors.

The Holocaust survivors were seeking an expansion of the deal, arguing that the original agreement did not take into consideration modern life expectancy rates or the tens of thousands of survivors who immigrated to Israel after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Earlier this month, an Israeli paper published comments by a minister saying Israel would want to reopen the deal, but the minister later said he was misquoted and only wished to examine with Germany ways to support survivors given the "holes" in the original agreement.

The Luxembourg agreement between the two countries stipulated that Germany would give Israel 833 million dollars in reparations, and Israel would look after the survivors, who would not be permitted to sue Germany directly.

This autumn, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that for the first time in its history, the Israeli government would need to pay monthly allowances from its own budget to Holocaust survivors and refugees, many of whom are said to live below the poverty line.

The Israeli government undertook to finance the 500-million-dollar plan, but wanted Germany to contribute as well.

DPA

Subject: German news

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