Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

France Asks PLO to Cancel the Palestine Conference Slated for August in Paris

May 5, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

France has asked the Palestine Liberation Organization to voluntarily cancel the international Palestine conference slated to be held here in August. Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson met with a prominent Palestinian leader, Hani el Hassan and asked him to convey to PLO chief Yasir Arafat and the PLO executive committee France’s opposition to have the United Nations-sponsored conference in Paris.

The UN General Assembly last summer voted in favor of the meeting. France at the time lobbied against the Arab-sponsored resolution calling for the conference, but when the voting on the resolution took place France aligned itself with other European countries and abstained.

UN officials in Paris told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the meeting will be held in the UNESCO building, which formally belongs to the UN, and that France is bound by its international agreements not to interfere with meetings sponsored by the UN and held on UN-controlled areas. The UN spokesman also said that France cannot legally bar delegates from attending the meeting.


Most Jewish organizations in France have vigorously protested against the meeting, which will practically coincide with the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on a Jewish restaurant in the old Jewish quarter of the city in which six people were killed and 22 wounded. Theo Klein, president of the Representative Council of Major French Jewish Organizations, called on the government to do whatever it can to prevent the meeting from taking place. He said holding the conference so close to the anniversary of the attack “would be tantamount to provocation.”

The Socialist Administration of President Francois Mitterrand, which enjoys the support of a large part of France’s 700,000 Jews, has been seriously embarrassed by the scheduled conference. It is especially worried by the prospect that Arafat might personally head the Palestine delegation. France has refused for the last 10 years to invite Arafat to Paris.

Recommended from JTA