Washington (Aug. 31)
The United States today strongly condemned the terrorist attack on a Vienna synagogue Saturday in which two persons were killed and 18 wounded, but refused to blame the Palestine Liberation Organization for the act.
Before addressing himself to the Vienna outrage, State Department spokesman Dean Fischer said the U.S. “deeply deplored” the “wave of violence” over the weekend which also included bombings at a U.S. base in Germany, the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Peru and the bombing in Tehran yesterday which took the life of Iranian President Mohammed Ali Rajai and Prime Minister Mohammed Javad Bahonar.
Fischer said that the U.S. had no details on these attacks as well as the incident in Vienna. “We deplore the climate that seems to lend itself to this kind of violence,” he said. He said there appears to be a sign of an upsurge in terrorism, although he stressed there was “no evidence” that the various acts were coordinated.
On the attack in Vienna, that occured at the close of a Bar Mitzvah ceremony, Fischer read a prepared statement saying: “We strongly condemn this terrible terrorist attack on innocent civilians and we extend our sympathy to the families of the victims.”
DECLINES TO DEAL WITH SEVERAL ISSUES
He said that the State Department has seen reports that there were “Arabs responsible” and that the PLO was to blame. But, Fischer added: “We note that (Austrian) Chancellor (Bruno) Kreisky has stated publicly that he is convinced that the attackers had nothing to do with the PLO.” Fischer added that the Voice of Palestine, the Beirut-based PLO radio station, has quoted the PLO as calling the attack in Vienna a “cowardly criminal act.”
The U.S. spokesman refused to address himself to a reporter’s suggestion that Kreisky may have created the climate for an attack such as on the synagogue by his allowing the PLO to operate in Vienna.
Fischer also refused to comment on the meeting in Beirut yesterday between French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson and PLO chief Yasir Arafat. He said his only comment would be that the U.S. position against any dealings with the PLO “remains unchanged.”
The spokesman also had no comment on a report in the current Newsweek magazine that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are to sign an agreement in which the Saudis promise not to use the AWACS that the Reagan Administration proposes to sell to them to spy on Israel.