WASHINGTON (Nov. 16)
The “Voice of Palestine Radio” said yesterday that a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Basel Akl, met in Cairo with three-visiting U.S. Senators Sunday in order to further the PLO’s “political and diplomatic” activity. The Senators were identified in reports from Cairo as Robert Griffin (R.Mich.), the possible new Senate Minority Leader; John Glenn (D.Ohio) and Paul Laxalt (R.Nev.). The meeting took place at the Cairo Hilton Hotel.
One report said it lasted two hours but another said one hour. Akl was described as the London representative of the PLO. The “Voice of Palestine” quoted him as saying that the meeting “is part of the political and diplomatic move which has been undertaken by the PLO” and that it covered “Palestinian demands as approved by the United Nations.”
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency was told by four Senate sources and two at the State Department that they had no independent information on the reported meeting from the Senators themselves or from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. According to the reports, Akl took a tougher position than Egyptian President Anwar Sadat who met on Saturday with a dozen Senators visiting the Middle East. Akl was reported to have said that the PLO would not abandon its terrorist tactics against Israel as a precondition for a conference in which Israel would participate.
Sadat reportedly met privately Sunday with Sen. James Abourezk (D.SD) who spoke last week at an anti-Zionist conference in Baghdad. Abourezk is on a Middle East trip as chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on refugees.