European Community Cautious over Pnc Independence Declaration

The 12-nation European Community has not yet established a unified position on the Tuesday morning declaration of Palestinian statehood in Algiers.

But the E.C. is expected to “welcome” the Palestine National Council’s endorsement of U.N. Resolution 242 at its meeting there.

It will, however, refrain for the time being from directly or indirectly recognizing the Palestinian state proclaimed by Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat, according to reports from E.C. headquarters in Brussels.

The 12 E.C. Foreign Ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Nov. 21.

According to sources in Brussels, they will spend most of the day examining Middle East developments, in light of both a new Israeli government and Palestinian acceptance of 242.

Diplomatic circles in Brussels said the West European ministers probably will publish a statement welcoming that Palestinian move, but will postpone a major political decision until December, when the 12 government heads of the E.C. member states hold their regular six-month summit meeting in Athens.

Western diplomatic circles say the E.C. governments feel they have a “moral obligation” to reward and encourage the Palestinians.

According to these sources, when Arafat addressed the Socialist faction at the Parliament of Europe in Strasbourg last September, he was urged by the deputies to accept Resolution 242 in order to advance the peace process.

“Now that we have scored a victory for European diplomacy, there should be a reward for the Palestinians,” the European diplomats say.

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