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Arabs Ask U.N. to Debate U.S. Decision to Close PLO Mission

February 22, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Arabs states officially requested Friday a special session of the General Assembly to debate the U.S. decision to close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s observer mission to the United Nations here.

The request was contained in a letter from the U.N. Arab Group — the PLO and the Arab states — to Peter Florin, the deputy foreign minister of East Germany, who is president of the General Assembly this year.

The Arabs want the General Assembly to convene no later than Feb. 29 unless the Reagan administration reverses its decision or agrees to submit the matter for international arbitration, according to diplomats.

The Arabs desire the General Assembly to ask the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on the decision for closure, according to diplomats here.

The special session is likely, as is General Assembly condemnation of the U.S. move, given the wide backing for the Arab Group position.

They are supported by Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar in their claim that the closing of the PLO mission violates the 1947 Headquarters Agreement governing the United Nations’ relations with its host country, the United States.

According to a legislation signed by President Reagan on Dec. 22, the PLO mission must be closed by March 21.

The State Department pressed Attorney General Edwin Meese to delay the closing of the mission and submit the issue to arbitration. The Justice Department announced Thursday that Meese was unlikely to decide for several weeks which action to take.

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