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News Brief

July 3, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Foreign Minister Pierre Auber has invited Farouk Kaddoumi, the foreign policy spokesman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to pay an official visit to Switzerland this month. Foreign Ministry spokesmen refused to disclose the exact date for “reasons of security.”

Auber himself refused to give reporters any details, indicating that the visit is something of an embarrassment to the Swiss foreign policy establishment. Kaddoumi had been invited to Bern in 1979 but cancelled when he found out that the then Israeli Foreign Minister, Moshe Dayan, had been there a week earlier. The PLO and the local Arab lobby have been putting pressure on the government since then to renew the invitation.

There was counter-pressure from Jewish circles not to do so. Auber himself is considered favorably disposed toward Israel. Prior to his election he had served as president of the Swiss-Israel Friendship Association. But he apparently succumbed to pressure from within his ministry.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said today that “Switzerland, being neutral and wanting to play the role of mediator in the (Arab-Israeli) conflict, it judged it necessary to be in contact with all parties involved in the conflict.” Ministry officials reportedly have asked pro-Israel elements to refrain from “holding a campaign against Kaddoumi’s visit.”

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