U.S. Fighting PLO Bid to Join World Tourism Organization

The Bush administration said Monday it would fight attempts by the Palestine Liberation Organization to join the World Tourism Organization, which is meeting this week in Paris.

“In our view, the self-declared State of Palestine, which we do not recognize, does not meet the generally accepted criteria under international law for statehood and thus does not qualify for membership in international organizations,” said Richard Boucher, the State Department’s deputy spokesman.

“Nor do we believe that bestowing legitimacy upon the self-proclaimed ‘state’ would advance the efforts to promote peace in the Middle East,” he said.

The United States has communicated its views to the WTO Secretariat and is “consulting closely with like-minded friends on how best to block these PLO efforts, which we will continue to oppose vigorously,” he said.

The WTO, which began meeting in Paris on Monday, is the latest of several international agencies the PLO has sought to join in a bid to gain recognition for the Palestinian state it declared last fall.

The United States has been largely successful in blocking such efforts.

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