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U.S. Raps Terrorist Attempt During Meeting with PLO

The U.S. diplomat authorized to talk to the Palestine Liberation Organization expressed “serious concern” Tuesday to the group’s representative in Tunis over Sunday’s raid in southern Israel, the State Department said Wednesday.

The United States has linked the infiltrators to a radical group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which operates under the PLO umbrella.

Department spokesman Charles Redman said the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia, Robert Pelletreau, “raised our serious concern over the Sunday incident in southern Lebanon.”

Pelletreau met with Hakam Balaaoui, the PLO’s representative in Tunis, whom he has met with previously.

Redman would not divulge other details of the meeting, such as the possibility of a U.S. threat to terminate the two-month-old dialogue should further PLO terrorist incidents occur.

Israel pressed the Bush administration to end the dialogue at a meeting Monday between a high-ranking embassy official and a senior State Department official.

Moshe Arad, the Israeli ambassador, was expected to raise that and other issues at his meeting with Secretary of State James Baker III Wednesday afternoon.

But Arad was not the only Middle Eastern ambassador on Baker’s schedule this week. Baker met with Saudi Arabian Ambassador Prince Bandar Bin Sultan on Tuesday, and Egyptian Ambassador El Sayed Abdel Raouf El Reedy on Wednesday.

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