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West German Opposition Party Urges Contacts with the PLO

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), apparently taking a cue from American policy, has changed its position toward the Palestine Liberation Organization.

It called on the government Friday to “cooperate with the PLO” and to accord it the status of a participant in the Middle East peace process.

The SPD declaration was issued two weeks after the party chairman, Hans-Jochen Vogel, met with a PLO representative to establish a working relationship.

He invited a PLO delegation to visit Bonn and West Berlin in October.

An SPD official explained that inasmuch as the United States opened a dialogue with the PLO six months ago, the party saw no reason to maintain its longstanding policy of avoiding contact with the PLO.

Two left-leaning SPD politicians. Heidemarie Vieczorek-Zeul, who is known to take anti-Israel positions, and Peter Glotz, visited Jerusalem last month on a fact-finding trip.

They have prepared a memorandum for the party recommending contacts with the PLO. They argue that, in the absence of other credible Palestinian representation, such a policy would improve peace prospects in the region.

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