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Crif Joins in Protests Against Cheysson’s Meeting with Arafat

August 28, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Representative Council of Major Jewish Organizations in France (CRIF) joined today in the chorus of protests against Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson’s scheduled meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat. The CRIF said in a statement that any move toward recognizing the PLO “can only reinforce its intransigence and jeopardize the search for a peaceful solution” to the Middle East conflict.

Another organization, the France-Israel Alliance, had earlier written Premier Pierre Mauroy calling for Cheysson’s resignation and rapping what its president, Gen. Jean Lecompte, saw as a continuation by the new Socialist Administration of the previous government’s “cynical” pro-Arab slant.

Reports from Beirut appearing in the French press today indicate that the Palestinians are just as unhappy with the new French Administration’s policy in the Middle East. The PLO is described as deeply regretting Cheysson’s refusal to call on Arafat at his headquarters in Beirut and President Francois Mitterrand’s pro-Israeli declaration. The Palestinians are also described as “perturbed” by French insistance on the positive aspects of the Camp David process which is anathema to most Arab states.

French sources, meanwhile, continue to remain vague on the date or the site of the forthcoming Cheysson-Arafat meeting. The sources continue to stress that the Minister “will welcome all the opportunities to confer with the PLO leaders, if the conditions for such a meeting are right.” The French want Arafat to call on Cheysson at the French Embassy or at the French Ambassador’s residence in Beirut. The meeting might take place on “neutral” ground in Damascus in order to placate both sides, officials here say.

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