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Chile Tells Wjc It Won’t Establish Diplomatic Relations with the PLO

Chile, which earlier this year authorized the opening of a Palestine Liberation Organization information office, has said it will not proceed to establish diplomatic relations with the PLO.

“I can assure you that Chilean foreign policy does not contemplate the establishment of diplomatic relations with the PLO,” Chile’s ambassador to Washington, Particio Silva, told the World Jewish Congress.

The WJC, at the urging of the Chilean Jewish community, had protested Chile’s decision on Jan. 5 to approve the opening of an “office of representation” by the PLO — namely the information office — in Santiago, the national capital.

In authorizing the office, the Foreign Ministry stated at the time that “in this way, Chile’s government satisfies the wishes of the citizens of Palestinian origin to have an office which will undoubtedly serve as a nexus between them and the land of their ancestors.”

Hussein Abdel Khalek, a PLO official named to head the office, told the media in Santiago that this was “a first step” that should be followed by giving the PLO “full recognition.”

Responding to a letter of protest by Richard Mottsman, a WJC member from Pennsylvania, Silva denied any intention of future diplomatic links with the PLO.

“While Chile is properly proud of its hospitality to foreigners, there is no representation in Chile which could be remotely considered an ‘embassy’ of the PLO,” Silva wrote.

The WJC welcomed the assurances that Chile was not forging diplomatic links with the PLO, but said that the very presence of a PLO information office in Santiago remained deeply troubling to the Jews in Chile.

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