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Arafat Sends Bush a Message, but Contents Remain a Secret

November 22, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Bush has received an oral message from Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the White House said Wednesday.

But White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater would not reveal what is in the message, except to concede that it deals with the Middle East peace process.

“It was a private message and it was sent orally, in order to keep it private, and we will maintain that confidence,” Fitzwater said.

He said the message was relayed through Robert Pelletreau, the U.S. ambassador in Tunisia and the only U.S. diplomat authorized to conduct formal talks with the PLO.

“There are no plans, at this time, for the president to respond,” Fitzwater added.

The Bush administration has maintained that it has been using its dialogue with the PLO to persuade it to allow Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to negotiate with Israel on proposed elections in the territories.

At the same time, the administration has denied talking to the PLO about Secretary of State James Baker’s five-point proposal for Israeli-Palestinian talks in Cairo.

Meanwhile, there is still no word on whether the Bush administration would grant Arafat a visa to attend the United Nations General Assembly debate on Palestine, scheduled for Nov. 29.

The administration said it has not received a visa request from Arafat and will not make a decision until there is an application for a visa.

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