NEW YORK (Nov. 7)
When Yasir Arafat addresses the United Nations General Assembly next week “he will come not as the head of the PLO but as the head of the Palestinian government-in-exile,” Dr. Mohammed Mehdi, executive director of the Federation of American-Arab Organizations said here today after meeting with U.S. Ambassador John Scali. He said that a resolution would be presented to the General Assembly by several Arab delegations asking the UN to recognize the new government-in-exile, or, if it has not yet been formed, to recognize the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, Dr. Mehdi said.
Addressing newsmen at a press conference after his meeting with Scali, which he described as a “meaningful visit.” Mehdi said Arafat would arrive in New York Nov. 12 or 13. The U.S.Mission has refused to confirm any date. A Mission spokesman said today he was “not aware” that the PLO leader had applied for a visa.
Mehdi was one of five members of the Federation of American Arab Organizations who met with Scali this morning The U.S. envoy met a week ago with a delegation representing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations, Mehdi said his delegation had urged the U.S. to recognize the PLO and to change its negative vote in the General Assembly last month on the resolution inviting the PLO to participate in the debate on the Palestine Question. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 105-4 Mehdi said the delegation also urged the U.S. to end economic and military aid to Israel and that the Arab resolution in connection with Arafat’s visit would urge the same course on all UN members. According to Mehdi, Scali promised to transmit the contents of their meeting to the State Department.
TIGHT SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS
Meanwhile, tight security arrangements are being made for the arrival of the PLO delegation. A U.S. spokesman acknowledged today that one measure being considered is to house the delegation at a U.S. military base near the city and transport them by helicopter to and from the UN. The UN buildings will be closed to visitors for the duration of the Palestine debate. Some sources indicated that Arafat would remain in New York less than 24 hours, The State Department has authorized C-2 visas for the PLO delegates which restricts their movement to a radius of 25 miles measured from Columbus Circle in mid-town Manhattan.(Y. Rabi)