WASHINGTON (Nov. 23)
The State Department announced today that it has ordered Sibri Jiryis, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to leave the country by Nov. 30 because he gave a false place of birth in his application for a U.S. entry visa. Jiryis entered the U.S. via New York on Oct. 19 and was to open a PLO information office in Washington.
State Department spokesman Robert Funseth disclosed that he obtained his visa at the U.S. Consulate in Nicosia. Cyprus Oct. 8 and that he carried a Sudanese passport. His application was for a single entry to the U.S. for business and pleasure. The State Department did not reveal the place where Jiryis claimed he was born. It is believed he was born in what is now Israel and left there in 1970. Funseth said that Jiryis’ visa expires Nov. 30 but that he was ordered to leave the country regardless of that fact. Isa Satawi, who accompanied him to the U.S. has already left, Funseth said.
Asked to explain the State Department’s political view with respect to the opening of a PLO office in Washington, Funseth said there was no question of objecting but that “it is a question of timing.” He added that from a foreign policy point of view “This is not a propitious time to open an office in Washington” but declined to say when it would be a propitious time. Asked why it was not propitious to open a PLO office in Washington when one exists in New York, Funseth noted that the New York office has been operating for 10 years.
He said it was not forbidden to open an office under the Foreign Agents Registration Act if it is properly staffed under U.S. laws and agreed that, hypothetically, a PLO office in Washington could be operated by members of the PLO New York office staff. He noted, however, that most registered foreign agents are American citizens.
Funseth disclosed that the subject of the PLO office in Washington was raised this morning at a breakfast meeting between Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. But he said that the State Department’s decision to oust Jiryis was made last night after an investigation with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Funseth said that Kissinger and Dinitz also discussed the situation in southern Lebanon. He said the U.S. was keeping a close watch on developments there and was urging restraint on all governments concerned.