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French Foreign Minister Calls for the PLO to Be Included in the Mideast Peace Negotiations

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French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson called today for the inclusion of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Middle East peace negotiations. He reiterated the French position at a crowded press conference and afterwards in his address to the UN General Assembly.

Replying to questions at the press conference, Cheysson said “of course” when asked if his government still believes the PLO should be associated with the peace process. The PLO, he said, “represents the fight, the struggle of the Palestinian people” and as such should be part of the negotiations. At the same time, however, Cheysson emphasized that his government has never recognized the PLO as being the sole representative of the Palestinian people.

The French diplomat said that any final Middle East peace agreement should be left to the Arabs and Israelis themselves. Asked about the Saudi Arabian peace plan proposed by Crown Prince Fahd last month, Cheysson said Fahd’s statements represent “a remarkable progress.” He added, however, that the statement failed to mention “self-determination” which is an important aspect of any Middle East settlement as far as France is concerned.

Cheysson said that President Francois Mitterrand of France will visit Saudi Arabia this Saturday and therefore the Saudi peace initiative might come to attention once again.

PESSIMISTIC ABOUT LEBANON SITUATION

The French Foreign Minister was pessimistic about the situation in Lebanon which he said was extremely grave to the point of being “unbearable.” He observed that Lebanon has “almost disappeared as a nation and as a state.” He stressed the need for a peaceful solution to the Lebanese crisis, which, he said, could be found only by the parties involved. He said that France would participate in any plan to bring peace to Lebanon if asked to do so by the parties or by the UN.

In his speech to the General Assembly, Cheysson addressed the Middle East problem in more general terms, declaring that “negotiation involving all of the parties concerned is the only acceptable means” for

reaching a settlement in the region. He also warned that “Violation of the resolutions of this organization (UN) is not the way to ensure the necessary security for the countries, for all the countries in the Middle East, including Israel. War is not the way the peoples of this region, all the peoples, including the Palestinian people, will achieve their rights recognized, including the right to a homeland and a state,” he said.

Cheysson declared that “Justice for people, security for states, respect for international decisions, negotiations — these are the principles that will guide France in the position it takes in the Middle East and throughout the world.”

The General Assembly was addressed last night by the Argentine Foreign Minister, Oscar Camilion, and Foreign Minister Sunao Sonoda of Japan. Camilion said that one of the most serious cases of insecurity is the persistent delay in resolving the Palestinian problem and the non-recognition of Israel by most Arab countries. He also noted that Israel’s occupation of territory since the 1967 war, its bombing of Iraq’s nuclear installation last June and the recent attack on a synagogue in Vienna are all part of the same problems.

Sonoda said peace in the Middle East would be achieved through implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 and 338 and the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination. He also said that it is necessary for a solution that Israel recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist. He called for participation by the PLO in the peace process.

VIEWS OF WEST GERMANY AND ITALY

The Foreign Ministers of West Germany and Italy, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Emilio Colombo, respectively, following the West European approach to a solution of the Middle East conflict, called today for mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestinians.

Genscher, addressing the General Assembly, said, “We have a vital interest of our own in a lasting comprehensive and equitable peace in the Middle East. Israel’s right to live within secure and recognized boundaries is just as indespensible for such a peace as recognition of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people,” he said. Genscher called for intensified efforts to achieve a settlement.

Colombo also supported Palestinian rights, including a state of their own “if they so wish.” He emphasized at the same time Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognized boundaries.

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