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House Passes Law Enabling Possible U.S. Aid to PLO

The Palestine Liberation Organization moved one step closer to receiving U.S. aid as the House of Representatives passed legislation this week waiving some restrictions on dealings with the PLO.

Since Israel and the PLO signed their historic accord last month, the issue of U.S. aid to the PLO has been put on the fast track here.

The Clinton administration feels that certain congressional prohibitions on U.S. ties to the PLO were made obsolete by the agreement, and that they must be waived for the PLO to participate more fully in the agreement’s implementation.

On Tuesday, the House passed legislation by voice vote that would waive certain provisions until Jan. 1, including lifting some restrictions on U.S. contributions to international monetary organizations that fund the PLO.

The legislation, titled the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act of 1993, includes language linking the waivers to a PLO renunciation of the Arab boycott. But the act does not make the waivers conditional upon a renunciation.

Under terms of this bill, and of a similar bill passed recently in the Senate, the president must certify to Congress that the PLO has abided by its recent commitments to renounce violence and to recognize Israel.

The House and Senate must now resolve some differences in their respective bills before the legislation goes to the White House for the president’s signature.

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