( Irna ) - The German government here Friday rejected Israeli demands to reopen a 1952 agreement which granted reparations to Jewish survivors of Nazi atrocities.
Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck has no intention "to hold such talks" during his visit to Israel, German Finance Ministry spokesman, Torsten Albig told the press in Berlin.
Earlier, Israeli Minister for Pensioner Affairs Rafi Eitan, who is reportedly responsible for talks with Germany on reparations for Holocaust survivors and retrieving Jewish property, said he wanted to discuss the issue with Steinbrueck when he visits Israel later this month.
Steinbrueck's spokesperson made it clear, "The federal finance minister does not meet at all with Mister Eitan when he is in Israel and does not intend to conduct talks of this nature." As part of the 1952 Luxembourg Agreement, Germany would give Israel 833 million US dollars, and Israel would look after the survivors, who would not be allowed to file directly a lawsuit against the German government.
Meanwhile, Berlin has also paid out 4.4 billion euros (six billion US dollars) by the end of last year to people forced to work for the Nazis during World War II.
According to the German Remembrance and Future Fund, almost 1.7 million people had been compensated, equating to more than 99 percent of those legally qualifying for the claims.
The fund was set up by the German government in 2000 and started to operate one year later.
Its funds are drawn from both the government and companies that were proven to have profited from forced labour across Europe during World War II.