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Nazi Slave Compensation Talks Resume

July 15, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Discussions resumed here today on settling compensation claims of former Nazi-era slave laborers against German industrial firms that employed them.

A State Department official denied an earlier report that an agreement had been reached. A similar denial was issued by Wolfgang Grabowski, a spokesman for the German companies involved in the talks.

The chief U.S. negotiator, Stuart Eizenstat, planned an afternoon news conference to discuss the status of the talks. An earlier round was held this week in New York.

Talks had begun recently among lawyers, victims’ groups and an alliance of 16 German companies _ including DaimlerChrysler, Siemens and Deutsche Bank _ on establishing a fund for slave laborers.

Under increasing pressure from U.S. class-action lawsuits, the companies announced details of the fund in June but did not specify how much money it would contain. Media reports have estimated it at about $1.7 billion.

Eizenstat said it was agreed among most parties that the German companies deserve freedom from future class-action lawsuits. He said this was a ``critical issue″ in getting firms to take part.

The talks in Washington were aimed at settling issues of restitution to some 200,000 former slave laborers and several hundred thousand forced laborers.

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