WASHINGTON (Oct. 17)
The Reagan Administration has made it clear that it will not receive a Palestine Liberation Organization representative included in an Arab League delegation scheduled to arrive here October 22 for a meeting with President Reagan.
The American position was laid down in statements issued by the White House and the State Department yesterday following an announcement in Rabat, Morocco last Friday night that PLO foreign policy spokesman Farouk Kaddoumi would be a member of the delegation.
The announcement, by Moroccan Foreign Minister Mohammed Boucetta, said the decision to include the PLO official was made at a meeting of the Arab League’s “special committee on Palestine” chaired by King Hassan of Morocco. Hassan is to head the delegation coming to Washington to explain the Arab peace plan drafted at the Arab League’s summit conference in Fez, Morocco last month.
POSITION ON PLO UNCHANGED
The Administration stated: “Our position on the PLO is unchanged. King Hassan is aware of our position. We would not receive any member of the PLO as part of a delegation nor do we expect any member of the PLO to participate in the delegation.”
The U.S. position, reiterated by the State Department, is that it will have no contact with the PLO until the latter recognizes Israel’s right to exist and accepts United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.
The Moroccan announcement said the seven-member delegation would consist of King Hassan, representatives of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan and Kaddoumi of the PLO. The PLO reportedly complained to the Arab League committee that its exclusion from a delegation whose purpose was to negotiate on the future of the Palestinian people would be unnatural and humiliating. The Arab League has never revised its 1974 Rabat summit decision affirming the PLO to be the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
CONFUSION OVER NUMBER OF REPRESENTATIVES
Morocco radio reported that the U.S. had not yet been informed officially of the decision to include a PLO representative in the delegation. Arab League officials were quoted as saying they hoped Reagan would go ahead with the meeting as planned.
There appeared to be some confusion here as to the number of representatives. State Department spokesperson Susan Pittman said yesterday that the original plan called for the representatives of four Arab countries to meet with Reagan and she knew of no plan to enlarge the delegation to seven, including a PLO member. The four were Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Syria.
A White House source said yesterday that the U.S. Embassy in Rabat had been informed that there would be no PLO member in the delegation. Arab sources in Rabat were quoted yesterday as saying that a PLO representative would come to Washington with the delegation but would remain at his hotel during the meetings with American officials.
The sources said the delegation would explain the Fez peace plan but would also explore the possibilities offered by Reagan’s own peace initiative for the Middle East which he announced last September 1. The Arab League group is scheduled to visit Paris, London, Moscow and Peking after its meetings in Washington.