Bush-Mubarak Talk Bypasses Emigrant Issue

from Associated Press

President Bush spoke by telephone to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak but did not offer to increase further the number of Soviet Jews permitted to enter the United States, Secretary of State James A. Baker III said today.

The Arabs are concerned about the heavy influx of Jews into Israel--many from the Soviet Union--especially those settling on the West Bank, in Gaza and in eastern Jerusalem.

Baker’s comments were in response to an Israeli radio report. It quoted an Egyptian presidential spokesman as saying Bush had told Mubarak that steps were being taken to enlarge the number of Soviet Jews allowed to come to the United States.

Baker, at a White House news conference, said Bush had spoken by phone today with Mubarak.


However, Baker added, “It is my understanding that the President did not offer to take in more Soviet Jews.”

Baker said, however, that as many as 70,000 Soviet emigres are already expected to come into the United States this year--up from 50,000 in 1989 and 14,000 in 1988.

“So we are increasing the number of Soviet emigres that we receive in the United States,” Baker said.