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PLO, in Latest Diplomatic Ploy, Asks to Sign Geneva Conventions

The Palestine Liberation Organization, in another ploy to advance the concept of Palestinian statehood, says it wants to sign the Geneva Conventions.

Nabil Ramlawi, the PLO representative to the United Nations in Geneva, informed the International Red Cross here that he will make the request of the Swiss Foreign Ministry when he visits the Swiss capital of Bern this week.

The Geneva Conventions, the international code of humanitarian law, are administered by the Swiss federal government. They have been ratified by 166 nations.

The PLO request poses a dilemma for the Swiss government. Switzerland has not recognized the Palestinian state proclaimed in Algiers last year by the Palestine National Council, the so-called Palestinian parliament-in-exile.

According to Swiss law, only a state with international boundaries can be recognized as such.

But a request to sign the Geneva Conventions may not be unilaterally dismissed. Switzerland is bound by the regulations to notify all 166 signatories, which will have six months to accept or reject the request.

To qualify, the requesting party must be recognized by a substantial number of nations and belong to a regional organization.

Though non-existent, the Palestinian state has been at least partially recognized by 90 governments and is a member of the Arab League.

Permission to sign the Geneva Conventions would be a significant step forward for the PLO in its campaign to promote the idea of Palestinian statehood by acquiring the rights and trappings of a sovereign state.

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