Israeli envoys welcomed in Indonesia

After visit, diplomat claims nation has "thirst" for business ties with Israel.

Two Israeli observers took part last week at a UN parley in Indonesia, a country with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties. Amos Nadai, the Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general for Asia and the Pacific, said that he held numerous meetings with the private sector in Indonesia within the framework of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific meeting in Jakarta. "This was the first time in the last five years that Israeli diplomats have visited Jakarta," he said. Nadai was accompanied by Yael Rubenstien, Israel's ambassador to Bangkok. "We were greeted very warmly," he said. Although Nadai said he did meet with government officials, he did not elaborate. Most of the meetings, he said, were with people in the business sector who expressed a "great deal of interest" in Israel. The diplomats said the received a warm welcome in Indonesia. "Whenever we mentioned that we were Israeli we were treated very nicely," said Nadai in an interview with Army Radio. However, Nadai said that he was doubtful that there would be full diplomatic relations with Indonesia until there was a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Until that point, Nadai continued, there was much that could be done in strengthening ties between the two nations - which was the purpose of this visit. He said that his impression was that there was a "thirst" for economic relations with Israel in Indonesia, and that Indonesians knew much about Israel, Army Radio reported.