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Senate Group Formed to Monitor PLO Compliance

A bipartisan group of 16 Senators have formed the Peace Accord Monitoring Group in an effort to ensure that the Palestine Liberation Organization complies with the terms of its agreements with Israel.

“The Peace Accord Monitoring Group has been created to ensure that the PLO’s words match their deeds,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (D-Ala.), in announcing the group’s formation at a news conference Wednesday.

He will co-chair the group with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).

The announcement came two weeks after a State Department report on PLO compliance drew the ire of many Jewish groups and members of Congress who felt the report was too lenient when discussing PLO violations of the peace agreement.

Sen. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), both members of the new group, said in a June 9 letter to Secretary of State Warren Christopher that the report tended “to excuse PLO lapses and avoided setting clear standards for full future compliance.”

The Senate monitoring group will work with a similar House group, which was established last month by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.).

Both groups hope to prevent any U.S. foreign aid from going to the PLO unless it complies with the declaration of principles and subsequent agreements signed with Israel.

“I am not satisfied with what the State Department has done on reporting the PLO,” Specter said at Wednesday’s news conference.

“I think there is much more than they have reported. Institutionally, the State Department needs congressional oversight,” the senator said.

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