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Bonn Official Breaches Government Policy Not to Have Contacts with PLO

Breaching the government’s policy of no official contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Undersecretary of State Hans-Juergen Wischnewski, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s right-hand man and the highest ranking official in the Chancellery, recently held a meeting in West Germany with Ahmed Sudki Dajani, a PLO executive member.

The meeting took place June 20 but only came to light this week when Dajani mentioned it in passing during a Brussels press conference on the eve of the new European-Arab dialogue. A government spokesman confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the meeting took place, but insisted the two met in their capacities as joint vice-chairmen of a working committee of the Euro-Arab talks.

But diplomatic observers are nonetheless surprised that such a meeting should take place–let alone, in the Chancellery–in view of repeated Bonn assurances that it would not recognize or negotiate with the PLO, and by implication its individual representatives, until the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist. The observers also say the meeting will inevitably enhance the PLO’s “status” and lend it “respectability” even if this wasn’t Bonn’s intention.

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