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French Socialist Party Invites PLO to Send Delegation to Its Conclave

The French, Socialist Party has invited the Palestine Liberation Organization to send a delegation with observer status to its general conference. This is the first time that the French Socialists, refuted to be Israel’s staunchest friends in France, have invited the PLO. Israel’s Labor Party traditionally sends a high ranking delegation to the conference.

Socialist sources say the decision to invite the PLO was taken by the party’s Executive in the absence of its First Secretary Francois Mitterand. Certain Socialist sources even claim that the invitation was launched “in order to embarrass” Mitterrand who is being contested as the party’s leader and Presidential candidate. The PLO will be represented at the annual conference due to take place April 7-9 by its permanent delegate in Paris, Ibrahim Suss.

Mitterrand has in the meantime written President Valery Giscard d’Estaing asking him to intervene on behalf of a large number of Soviet Jews. Mitterrand has asked Giscard to take up this issue with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev when the two meet later this week. The French President is leaving Thursday for an official visit to the Soviet Union.

The Socialist leader asked Giscard “to enable the reunification of families as prescribed by international law and the basic-rights of man”. Mitterrand added to his letter a long list of Soviet citizens on whose behalf he asks the French President to intervene. A Presidential spokesman has refused to comment on the request, saying that such top level meetings are confidential.

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