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Cheysson Moderates View on PLO

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Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson said today that France recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as “one of the

Palestinian representative forces” but is adamantly refusing, in spite of various pressures, to recognize it as “the representative of the Palestinian people”.

Cheysson, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel next Monday for a two-day official visit said, however, that the PLO’s lack of official representation is such “that one can not ask it to recognize the State of Israel.”

In an interview with the French Jewish weekly La Tribune Juive, which appeared today, the Minister said that mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestinians must be the result of negotiations. He stressed that he understands Israel’s position of refusing to negotiate with someone who plots its destruction. He drew a clear difference between non-recognition and aiming at a country’s destruction, such as the Palestinian Charter does.

During his visit to Beirut last August, Cheysson called for PLO participation in future Mideast peace talks and affirmed that the Palestinians should be given the opportunity for self-determination. Also during his visit, Cheysson met with PLO chief Yasir Arafat.

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