WASHINGTON (Jan. 3)
The United States said Tuesday that its meeting with the Palestine Liberation Organization over the weekend was initiated by a low-level PLO official who “asked to come and introduce himself.”
“There are no other meetings planned at this time,” State Department spokesman Charles Redman said Tuesday. Redman had said before the initial U.S. contact with the PLO on Dec. 16 that no other meetings were likely before President-elect George Bush’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
A State Department source Tuesday dismissed reports from Madrid that a PLO official will be meeting with the United States later this week. “That’s wrong,” the source said.
U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Robert Pelletreau, the sole U.S. official authorized to speak with the PLO, did meet over the weekend for 45 minutes with Hakam Balaoui, the PLO’s representative in Tunis, Redman said.
Pelletreau used the occasion to say the United States “would welcome any information the PLO is able to develop” on the terrorist downing of Pan American World Airways Flight 103 on Dec. 21, Redman said.
Pelletreau told Balaoui that finding the perpetrators of the bombing is a “high priority for the United States,” he added.
Redman refused to discuss other details of the meeting, except to say the agenda was much smaller than that at the Dec. 16 meeting.
Redman added that he will not divulge any information provided by the PLO to the United States, citing the need for investigators to work on a “confidential basis.”