Germany rejects request to rehash reparations
The German government has rejected a request by Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan to reopen the reparations agreement for discussion, the German government's deputy spokesman told reporters in Berlin on Friday.
The announcement comes a few days before the visit to Israel of Germany's Federal Minister of Finance Peer Steinbruck.
The German government would open talks with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, but only on "amendments in the existing framework," deputy spokesman Thomas Steg said.
"After a comprehensive examination and talks between the German Finance Ministry and the Israeli minister for pensioners affairs, Rafi Eitan, the government has decided not to accede to the request," he said.
Steg also said that Israel had yet to submit an "official request" in the matter.
The cabinet has appointed Eitan responsible for dealing with the return of stolen Jewish property and talks on compensation to survivors.
Yesterday, the German Federal Press Office was unavailable for comment on the change in formulation of the government's position.
Steg said the body with which Germany conducted ongoing talks on "the situation of Holocaust survivors" was the Claims Conference. He said the compensation Germany pays to the Claims Conference had gone up a few times over the years.
Steinbruck, due to arrive in Israel on Wednesday, is scheduled to meet with Eitan and a number of figures from the umbrella organization of survivors' groups in Israel. However Steg denied that Steinbruck was to meet with Eitan or discuss compensation during his visit.