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State Department Grants U.S. Visa for Husseini

The State Department has decided to grant a visa to Palestinian activist Faisal al-Husseini, but no decision has been made on two members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a U.S. official said Tuesday afternoon.

Frances Jones, spokeswoman for the department’s consular affairs bureau, did not indicate when a decision will be made on whether to issue visas to Afif Safieh, the PLO’s representative in the Netherlands, and Nabil Shaath, a senior adviser to PLO leader Yasir Arafat and a member of the Palestine National Council’s political committee.

The three are planning to speak at a conference at Columbia University this weekend sponsored by Columbia; Al-Fajr, a Palestinian Arabic newspaper in East Jerusalem; the left-wing Israeli magazine New Outlook; American Friends of Peace Now; and the American Council for Palestinian Affairs.

At his regular briefing Tuesday, department spokesman Charles Redman said Husseini “is not a PLO member and therefore does not require a waiver” of a congressional statute restricting the entry of PLO members into the United States.

Redman said he expected a decision soon on the two other visa requests in light of the conference this weekend.

Husseini, director of the Arab Studies Center in Jerusalem, was recently released from an Israeli prison, where he had served his second six-month term in 13 months.

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