LISBON (Oct. 31)
The Bureau of the Socialist International today empowered its president, former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, and its vice president, Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, to continue maintaining “contacts” with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The Bureau, on which 20 Socialist Parties are represented, did not consider, however, granting the PLO any official status as an observer or in any other capacity. Israeli Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres said after the two-day session that he was “satisfied” with the results.
The Bureau took these decisions after a two-hour debate during which no formal resolutions were presented and no votes were taken. Brandt told the Jewish Telegraphic. Agency that practically all the delegations supported “the principle” of his and Kreisky’s meeting with Arafat last July in Vienna.
The only delegations which objected, Brandt and Kreisky said, were the Israelis and that of Ireland. The Dutch and several others objected to the way in which the meeting was arranged and its form. Israeli sources said the Bureau has promised that any future contacts with the PLO will take place only after Israel has been given due notice in advance.
Both Brandt and Kreisky told the JTA that the PLO has not applied for observer status nor are there any plans for further connects with Arafat or any of its other representatives. Socialist sources said that the PLO “has not applied because they know that their application would not stand a chance to be granted.”
Brandt told the conference that both he and Kreisky “are convinced that the Palestinians now want self-determination without the elimination or destruction of the State of Israel.” Brandt said that in his view “the two sides (Israel and the PLO) will have to take each other into consideration” if a comprehensive peace agreement is to be reached. He added that “the peace process is impossible without PLO participation.”
Kreisky, who arrived earlier this morning from the U.S. where he met President Carter and addressed the UN General Assembly, took a far more moderate line than at the previous Socialist meeting held last July in Stockholm. Kreisky spoke for less than two minutes pleading with the delegates to support “a just and lasting solution” in the Middle East. He also said that such a solution must be reached with full Palestinian participation in the negotiations.
PLO MUST BE JUDGED BY ITS PUBLIC STATEMENTS
Peres said, “My differences with Brandt and Kreisky are mainly on a question of grammar. They speak, hopefully, about the future. We speak about the present.” He said. “what really matters is not the assurances given (by Arafat) in a private conversation (with Brandt and Kreisky) but the public statements, the Palestinian covenant and the continuation of acts of terror.”
Egypt attended a Socialist conference for the first time in an observer capacity. The Egyptian ruling party, the National Democratic Union, has formally applied for admission to the Socialist International. The party’s secretary general, Kamal Hassan, a former top aide to President Anwar Sadat, came out in favor of Socialist contacts with the PLO.
He also stressed, however, that the Camp David agreements “were the first documents in which Israel recognized the rights of the Palestinians.” He said that the Socialists could best act for peace “by supporting the agreements.” Hassan conferred at some length last night with Peres and met with him again today before the two men left Lisbon — Hassan for Cairo and Peres for a brief visit to London.
Conference sources said that the Lisbon meeting represented an Israeli success insofar as the Bureau is not even vaguely planning to consider a PLO inclusion. On the other hand, however, it has authorized Brandt and Kreisky to maintain contacts with the PLO and keep themselves “informed.”