PLO to Open Offices in Vienna

Austria’s new Foreign Minister Willipald Pahr confirmed Friday that the Palestine Liberation Organization would be allowed to open two observer offices in Vienna Farouk Kaddoumi, leader of the PLO’s political department, earlier this month requested permission to open observer offices related to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to which it is accredited. At that time, government spokesmen said the opening of an information office for propaganda was not discussed.

Contrary to previous government statements, Pahr, who succeeded Erich Bielka last month, said in response to a parliamentary question: “An information office would have the same privileges any other organization in Austria has, as long as it does not violate the criminal code.”

Pahr did not specify if Austria would get any guarantees that the PLO offices would not turn out to be agitation centers. The opposition Conservative People’s Party has opposed the opening of a PLO office, calling the PLO a terrorist gang.

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