JERUSALEM (Mar. 3)
Foreign Minister Svenn Stray of Norway said here today that if Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasir Arafat were to visit Norway he (Stray) would not meet with him. The Scandinavian media reported that the PLO chief will visit the area later this month.
At a press conference winding up his four day visit to Israel, Stray said he thought it unlikely that Arafat would come to Norway, though there was a real possibility of his visiting Sweden.
The PLO chief does have on invitation from the opposition Socialist Party to visit Oslo, but if he accepts it, said Stray “I would not meet with him because as far as I know the PLO has not denounced its former terrorist activities. I would consider (meeting Arafat)if he would admit that his former terrorist activities were wrong and undertake not to carry out such activities any more.”
Stray stopped short, however, of endorsing Israel’s refusal to have any dealings with the PLO. The considerations for Israel, as a party directly involved in the conflict, might be different, he observed.
TERMS VISIT TO ISRAEL ‘SUCCESSFUL’
Stray termed his visit here “successful” and “useful for both sides.” Having been recently to Egypt and Jordan, too, he felt the prospects for the Mideast peace process were perhaps better now than they had been for a long time in the past. But obviously there were still wide gaps, the Norwegian statesman continued. He cited Jordan’s demand for a West Bank settlement freeze as a precondition for its joining negotiations as one such obstacle.
Regarding Lebanon, Stray said he agreed with his Israeli host. Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was not capable of preventing terrorism in south Lebanon. Stray observed that UNIFIL was not a fighting force or even a police force. It had been established to keep guard along an agreed line dividing the parties.
But as to UNIFIL’s future — Israel wants it moved out of the south Lebanon security zone — Stray said this was an issue for negotiation and then for a decision by the UN Security Council. Norway has furnished a battalion of men to UNIFIL since the force’s inception in 1978.