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State Dept. Denies That It Has Begun Indirect Talks with the PLO

The State Department has denied that Secretary of State George Shultz’ meeting with the West Bank Palestinians Tuesday night was the beginning of indirect talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Department spokesman John Hughes said yesterday that Shultz’ meeting with the group, which included two mayors expelled by Israel, Mohammed Milhem of Halhoul and Fahd Kawasmeb of Hebron, which lasted about 30-35 minutes did not signal a “beginning” or a “continuation” of direct or indirect negotiations with the PLO.

Hughes said that as far as he knew the Palestinians did not bring a message from PLO chief Yasir Arafat. Some of the group met with Arafat in Tunis on their way here to attend the conference at American University earlier this week on “Palestinians Under Occupation.”

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