Apology opens door for Israeli minister to visit NZ

Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom could pay a visit to New Zealand now the diplomatic freeze caused by the spy scandal has ended.

It is understood Mr Shalom or the Foreign Ministry's Director-General, Ron Prosser, will make the trip to mark the end of the freeze imposed by the New Zealand Government.

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced this week that she had received an apology for the actions of alleged Mossad agents Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara.

They were convicted last July of trying to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports and deported after serving two months of their six-month prison sentences.

Helen Clark imposed diplomatic sanctions pending an apology from Israel, including delaying approval for the accreditation of a new Israeli ambassador.

High-level official contact was frozen and Israeli diplomats had to apply for visas if they wanted to visit New Zealand.

"We are happy the crisis is behind us and look ahead to the future," said senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official Amos Nadav.

In Wellington, Israel's honorary consul David Zwartz welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations.

- NZPA

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