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U.S. Denies PLO Helpful in Inquiry

January 18, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department Tuesday denied a press report that the Palestine Liberation Organization has been “exceedingly valuable” in the Pan American World Airways Flight 103 crash investigation.

Dennis Harter, director of the Office of Press Relations, told reporters at the daily briefing, “We would welcome assistance from any legitimate source in this investigation.”

He added, “To our knowledge, however, the PLO has not provided such assistance.”

The Washington Post quoted ABC News sources in the PLO as saying “several dozen PLO intelligence agents” have been working with British and West German investigators and have delivered “exceedingly valuable” information in the case.

The United States believes that a terrorist bomb caused the plane to crash over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21.

In a separate development, Harter and White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said Tuesday that the United States has not received any request from PLO leader Yasir Arafat to address the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s annual convention April 13.

An Arafat application would test the staying power of outgoing Secretary of State George Shultz’s Nov. 26 rejection of an Arafat visa request to address the United Nations.

Faris Bouhafa, a spokesman for the Anti-Discrimination Committee, said this is the first time Arafat has been invited to the group’s convention, although he addressed it by satellite in 1985.

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