GENEVA (Jul. 25)
Reliable Swiss sources said today that Swiss authorities have decided to bar entry to Switzerland to any Palestinian terrorist, or other terrorists sought by police, who want to attend the Conference on Palestinian Rights in Geneva, even if they have diplomatic passports.
Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan head of state, has said he would issue such passports to all Palestinian terrorists who want to come to Geneva to participate in the conclave scheduled for the end of August. Officials of Vienna and Paris refused to allow the conference in their cities, citing security problems.
Concern reportedly had been expressed by official sources in Geneva over the prospect of terrorists wanted by Interpol, moving about freely in Geneva under diplomatic immunity. Such fears, according to the report, led Swiss officials to decide that even if a terrorist had a diplomatic passport, he would not be admitted.
Guy Fontanet, the chief of Geneva’s police department, had declared that “we will do all that is possible to make sure Geneva does not turn into a second Bekaa valley,” a reference to the eastern section of Lebanon, held by Syrian troops and currently the scene of intermittent fighting by groups of Moslems, Phalangists and warring factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Some Swiss authorities indicated they thought PLO chief Yasir Arafat plans to come to Geneva to attend the conference, asserting Arafat would be “almost obliged” to be present, unless the current fighting within the PLO makes that impossible.