Menu JTA Search

U.S. Envoy Contacts PLO to Arrange First Meeting

U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Robert Pelletreau Jr. telephoned an unnamed Palestine Liberation Organization official Thursday and may meet with PLO officials Friday, the State Department said Thursday.

Spokesman Charles Redman said Pelletreau “contacted PLO headquarters in Tunis to work out the arrangements for a first meeting.”

Nancy Beck, a department spokeswoman, did not name the PLO official contacted or what they discussed, but added that the meeting would probably take place Friday.

Redman was less definite, saying the meeting “could take place” Friday. He reaffirmed Secretary of State George Shultz’s statement that Pelletreau is “the only authorized U.S. channel for this dialogue.”

Redman said the meeting will likely be the only one before President-elect George Bush takes office Jan. 20. He added that the meeting is being held now to fulfill the longstanding U.S. promise to open a dialogue with the PLO once it explicitly recognized Israel’s right to exist, renounced terrorism and accepted U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

The Arabic-speaking Pelletreau, 53, has been ambassador to Tunisia since 1987. He was deputy assistant secretary of defense for Near East and South Asian affairs from 1980 to 1981 and from 1985 to 1987, and was deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs from 1981 to 1983.

NEXT STORY