PLO Rejects Charge Iraq is Trying to Populate Kuwait with Palestinians

The Palestine Liberation Organization has expressed ” astonishment” and “indignation ” over a statement last week by Belgian Foreign Minister Mark Eyskens that implied Iraq may be trying to set up a Palestinian state in Kuwait.

The PLO, headquartered in Tunisia, sent a formal protest to the Belgian ambassador there through its envoy, Hakam Balaoui, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported from Tunis.

The Belgian foreign minister also was criticized for his remarks by Prime Minister Wilfried Martens at the weekly Cabinet meeting here last Friday, the local news media reported.

Eyskens said at a news conference here Sept. 19 that the Western European Union has learned that “the Iraqis are doing everything possible to make Kuwaitis leave” and that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s “idea may be to bring Palestinians to Kuwait and settle them there.”

The union consists of nine of the 12 member states of the European Community and is the only Western European organization with authority to deal in security and defense matters beyond the boundaries of the NATO pact countries.

“The PLO expressed its astonishment and profound indignation at the statement,” the WAFA report said. “Such allegations can only aggravate tension in the region.”

Eyskens did not say where the reports originated, only that they were received on Sept. 18. He stressed that the Palestinian problem could be solved only by respecting “the right for self-determination, which is valid for all peoples.”

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