Washington (Oct. 20)
The Moscow office of the Palestine Liberation Organization has been upgraded to full diplomatic status, according to a report today in the official Tass news agency. Up to now the three-man PLO office had been accredited with the semi-official Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee. Tass reported that Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev personally informed PLO chief Yasir Arafat of the move at a meeting in the Kremlin today.
The meeting between Brezhnev and Arafat, who arrived in Moscow last night at the head of a Palestinian delegation, was described as warm and friendly. Both reportedly agreed that the present tension in the Middle East was caused by the United States and Israel.
According to Tass, Brezhnev assured Arafat that the Soviet Union would continue to give full support to the Palestinian cause and praised the role of the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” The Kremlin meeting was attended by Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and by the head of the PLO’s political department, Farouk Kaddumi.