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Ronald Reagan Administration: Statement on the Release of Anatoly Shcharanskiy From the Soviet Union

(February 11, 1986)

The President today spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Shimon Peres [of Israel], Anatoly Shcharanskiy, and Mrs. Shcharanskiy, who had just arrived at the airport in Tel Aviv. The call lasted 8 minutes, 1:08 p.m. to 1:16 p.m. The President told Prime Minister Peres he was very pleased over the releases, noting that Chancellor Kohl [of the Federal Republic of Germany] played a key role in putting together this exchange. He added that we will not stop pressing for improvements in the situation of Soviet Jews, including emigration rights.

On behalf of the American people, the President expressed to Dr. Shcharanskiy delight over the release and that he had joined his wife in Israel. The President commended his courage and fortitude as symbols of the human will for freedom, adding that his many long years of imprisonment and suffering had been painful for all who care about human rights. The President concluded by saying he would continue his own efforts and those of the Government to support human rights in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.

Sources: Public Papers of the President