LISBON (Nov. 4)
Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat met last Friday with Portuguese President Antonio Ramalho Eanes, practically winning recognition for his organization. Arafat arrived in Lisbon early Friday morning to open the five-day international “Solidarity Conference with the Arab Nations” that night.
The PLO leader was met at the airport by Foreign Minister Carlos Freitas Cruz who later gave an official banquet in his honor. Freitas Cruz, in his toast, called for “the recognition of the martyred Palestinian people to a homeland.” Arafat was also received by Portuguese Prime Minister Mario de Lourdes Pintasilgo for a one hour-long audience at her official residence.
The official welcome amounted to a de facto Portuguese recognition of the PLO and diplomatic sources here believe that Arafat’s visit will conclude with the creation of a PLO diplomatic representation in Lisbon. It would be the second such mission in a NATO country-the first was set up last month in Turkey. Portugal’s Jewish community has protested to the Prime Minister and the President against holding the conference in Lisbon and Arafat’s visit.
MEETS WITH SOCIALIST, COMMUNIST LEADERS
Arafat also met Friday morning at his hotel with the leaders of the Portuguese Socialist and
The Palestinian solidarity conference opened in the presence of over 600 official delegates from over 100 countries and some three dozen organizations. The conference is expressing solidarity with bath the Arab nations and their people and “Palestine.”
Libya, which is reportedly funding the huge parley, also set down the law; it barred an invitation to Israel’s Communist Party (Rakah) and also refused to grant accreditation to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent in Lisbon. Palestinian circles were openly unhappy with these decisions but said “the matter is not in our hands.” The PLO traditionally claims it is not anti-Jewish, only anti-Israel.
PROMINENT SOCIALISTS ATTENDING
Though most West European Socialist parties are not attending the Lisbon conference, prominent Socialists from most of these countries are participating in “individual capacities.” Several French and West German Socialists arrived in Lisbon and plan to address the conference.
The Lisbon conference is a far cry from previous similar meetings, both in the number of attending delegates and their personal importance. The lobby of the hotel where the conference is taking place and where most delegates are staying looks like a mini-United Nations at the time of the General Assembly. Arab diplomats, Buddhist monks, West European intellectuals and East European representatives rub shoulders with Arab sheiks and Vietnamese officials.