Tourism Body Postpones Action on PLO Request for Membership
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Tourism Body Postpones Action on PLO Request for Membership

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The World Tourism Organization voted Tuesday not to admit the Palestine Liberation Organization to its ranks at this time.

An American-sponsored resolution postponing debate on the PLO’s application for membership until the WTO’s next General Assembly in 1991 was adopted by a vote of 40-34.

There were 32 abstentions and absentees.

The vote was the second defeat this year of PLO efforts to gain admission to international organizations.

It was due largely to American influence, which this time extended to Hungary, an Eastern Bloc country that usually votes with the Arabs.

In addition to the American-sponsored measure, there were two competing resolutions on the agenda.

One, submitted by the Arab states, called for immediate admission of the PLO.

The other, introduced by European nations, would have granted the PLO several privileges short of full membership.

The Europeans withdrew their motion after Hungary and Australia switched support to the American draft.

Observers said Hungary decided to break ranks in order to preserve its developing tourist trade and to further improve relations with Israel and various Jewish organizations.

Hungary is believed to be moving toward reestablishing formal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

The World Health Organization decided in May to postpone for one year consideration of a PLO bid to join that body. The move came after the United States threatened to cut off its funding to the U.N. agency.


But the outcome of the PLO’s application for membership in the U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization remains in doubt and has Israeli diplomats here uneasy.

The General Conference, UNESCO’s equivalent of the U.N. General Assembly, is expected to take up PLO membership when it convenes in Paris in October.

The General Conference acts on the recommendation of the agency’s Executive Council, a smaller body that has taken an open position on the issue.

The Executive Council will meet again in September for its final review of the issue. Israeli and American diplomats hope it will urge the General Council to defer a decision on the PLO for one year.

Diplomats say the UNESCO situation “might be more difficult,” because American leverage is not as strong.

The United States walked out of UNESCO in 1985, charging anti-Western bias and politicization.

The Americans have warned that admission of the PLO would kill any chance of their returning.

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