JERUSALEM (Jun. 9)
Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat has ordered the closing of PLO offices in Tunis in preparation for moving the group’s headquarters to the autonomous Jericho district in the West Bank.
Arafat ordered the PLO offices closed as of June 15.
The 650 staff and security personnel employed at the Tunis headquarters were informed of the move a week ago. It remains unclear how many of them will move to Jericho when the offices are transferred there.
The only PLO office that will remain open in Tunis is the organization’s political department, headed by Farouk Kaddoumi, which will act as a liaison between the Palestinian governing authority and the international community. The office will also serve some 3 million diaspora Palestinians.
According to Arafat, the date of his arrival in Jericho depends upon his success in raising funds for running the day-to-day operations of the Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip and Jericho.
On Tuesday in Tunis, Arafat reportedly told American and Russian officials that he would not move to Jericho before the funds start coming in.
A group of donor countries last October pledged more than $2 billion over five years to support the Palestinian autonomy, but little of that has so far materialized.
Some countries have reportedly been troubled by Arafat’s history of disbursing funds without keeping adequate records.