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Arafat Seeking to Address the UN

Diplomatic sources said at the opening of the 42nd session of the General Assembly Tuesday that they do not rule out an invitation to Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat to address the world body.

The sources said the PLO will request that the UN Secretariat invite Arafat, but noted that in the last two years, similar requests by the PLO were rejected. Arafat addressed the General Assembly only once, in 1975.

Meanwhile, the delegates from the 159 United Nations member-states gathered for the opening session, elected a ranking East German diplomat, Peter Florin, President of the 42nd General Assembly. He succeeded Humayun Choudhury of Bangladesh, President of the 41st Assembly which formally ended Monday.

Florin, Deputy Foreign Minister of the German Democratic Republic, referred only briefly to the Middle East in his opening statement. He said proposals for a Middle East peace conference were “realistic” because they take “due account of the interests of the parties involved.” He added that the conference “would not be a tribunal to pass judgement on a state or people.”

There are more than 150 items on the agenda of the opening session of the Assembly which will last about 13 weeks. More than 30 of them deal with Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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