Canadas ambassador to Israel to return after Levys apology

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JERUSALEM — Canadian Ambassador David Berger was to return to Israel early this week, following an unequivocal apology by Foreign Minister David Levy to his counterpart in Ottawa, Lloyd Axworthy, for the use of forged Canadian passports by Mossad agents who tried to assassinate a Hamas leader in Amman last month.

The affair's resolution obviated Deputy Foreign Minister Claude Laverdure's mission here, which was to have begun Sunday. Laverdure, who deals with Europe and the Middle East, was to have worked out a mechanism that would assure the integrity of Canadian passports.

Axworthy's decision to send Berger back was attributed to Levy's assurances that "steps will be taken to prevent more incidents like the one in Jordan in the future."

Canadian embassy Charge d'Affaires David Viveash said Levy personally apologized to Axworthy by telephone Friday of last week "for any effect that Israel's fraudulent use of Canadian passports may have had on the safety of Canadians traveling abroad."

Axworthy responded immediately by instructing Berger, who had been recalled for consultations Oct. 4, to return to his post. The ambassador was told to give priority to ensuring that Canadian passports are not misused again.

Asked to comment on a Jerusalem Post report of possible complicity by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) in the Amman episode, Viveash said, "We categorically reject suspicions of collusion" between Canada and Israel.