French Foreign Minister Plans a Meeting with Arafat in Libya

French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas plans to meet with Yasir Arafat later this month in Libya, becoming the first European foreign minister to see the Palestine Liberation Organization leader since the end of the war in the Persian Gulf.

News of such a meeting was predicted this week by diplomatic sources in Luxembourg, where leaders of the European Community held an informal summit meeting to discuss prospects for Middle East peace since the Gulf war.

On Thursday, French officials confirmed that the Foreign Ministry had sent the head of its Middle East division to Tunisia to arrange a meeting between Dumas and Arafat.

Arafat has been largely ostracized by the E.C. and members of the U.S.-led coalition that ousted Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait since the PLO chief cast his lot with Hussein.

Dumas is the only European foreign minister to have contact with Arafat since the Gulf crisis began. It will be their second encounter since the crisis began last August.

Dumas is scheduled to leave April 21 on a visit to Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

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