AMSTERDAM (Jan. 10)
The Dutch news media are displaying avid interest in a Foreign Ministry delegation from The Hague presently visiting Palestine Liberation Organization head-quarters in Tunis.
The intensive radio, television and newspaper coverage given the trip seems to have embarrassed Dutch officials and Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek, who sent them to Tunis.
It was supposed to be a low-key, fact-finding mission to test the PLO on a number of issues not made clear in its current diplomatic offensive.
The Netherlands wants to know, for example, how the PLO defines “terrorism.”
The PLO, for its part, is interested in maximum publicity to show that the Dutch, always pro-Israel, are now veering toward the Palestinian cause.
The Dutch diplomats who arrived in Tunis Sunday are Henri Weynandts, director general of political affairs at the Foreign Ministry, and Robert Serry, director of its Middle East division.
They were joined in Tunis by the Dutch ambassador, Peter Houben, and his first secretary, Robert Akkerman.
The visitors are scheduled to meet with PLO leader Yasir Arafat, although the time and place has been kept secret for security reasons.
They have already had meetings with Farrouk Kaddoumi, the PLO’s foreign affairs director and Abu Alapa, the PLO’s director of economic affairs.