Canada Offers Election Assistance

“Canada is ready to assist Israel with supervising eventual elections” in the West Bank and Gaza Strip “should the government of Israel ask for it,” External Affairs Minister Joe Clark told members of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in Ottawa on Friday.

He also suggested that the Palestine Liberation Organization has a long way to go to assure Israel of its good intentions.

“The Palestinian movement first must take steps to dissipate the anxieties of the Israelis,” Clark said.

Clark, who on March 13 authorized Canadian diplomats to meet with representatives of the PLO, stressed that “Canada must encourage those elements favorable to Arafat inside the PLO.” He said that if moderate elements “fail in their efforts, the radicals will take over, and we don’t like them.”

He was sharply criticized by Jewish deputies on the committee, representing the opposition Liberal Party, for initiating talks with the PLO in the first place.

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