London (May. 18)
Nabil Ramlawi, Palestine Liberation Organization representative in London, has been elected doyen of the Arab members of the diplomatic corps to boost the PLO’s political standing.
The move comes on the eve of Britain’s assumption of the six-month presidency of the European Economic Community (EEC) and is intended to strengthen the PLO’s participation in further Middle East negotiations initiated by the EEC.
Although Britain supports the PLO’s participation in a Mideast settlement, the move appears to have embarrassed the Foreign Office which wants to make up its own mind on when and where to deal with PLO officials.
Last week, Lord Carrington, the Foreign Secretary, confirmed that he would not dodge a meeting with PLO chairman Yasir Arafat once Britain assumed EEC presidency. There have been some suggestions, though, that Carrington will delegate this job to Sir lan Gilmour, the Lord Chancellor, who acts as Deputy Foreign Secretary.