VIENNA (Mar. 13)
Austria today extended a form of diplomatic recognition to a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The government announced that it was granting official status to Palestine-born Ghasi Hussain who has been accredited to various United Nations agencies here as a PLO observer for the past three years.
Today’s move made Austria the first Western nation in Europe to confer such status on a PLO official. The Foreign Ministry would not say whether or not it was full diplomatic recognition of the PLO but indicated that Chancellor Bruno Kreisky is prepared to deal with Hussain on questions concerning the Palestinian people or the PLO. Other circles here described the move as a new form of diplomatic recognition. It is unprecedented inasmuch as Hussain represents neither a government nor a territorial entity.
The Israel Embassy here said Ambassador Yissakar Ben-Yaacob has asked the government for an immediate clarification. PLO chief Yasir Arafat was received by Kreisky for talks here last July. It was his first official visit to a Western country since his appearance before the UN General Assembly in New York in 1974.