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Kreisky-plo Rift Healed

December 14, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The brief rift between Chancellor Bruno Kreisky and Palestine

Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat was healed when Kreisky met unexpectedly with Arafat in Abu Dhabi last week and the two men shook hands in front of television cameras. Kreisky was on a visit to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qator for what he said were mainly economic matters. He has since returned from the Persian Gulf states.

Strains developed between the Chancellor and the PLO after the PLO representative in Vienna, Ghazi Hussain, was ousted for arms smuggling. Kreisky was also angered by Arafat’s public jubilation over the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in October. But he told reporters after meeting with Arafat that he had no objections to the PLO sending a new representative to Vienna, though he added, “They have to send somebody who is above any suspicion.”

Kreisky also absolved the PLO of responsibility for the murder of Vienna city councilman Heinz Nittel, a friend of Israel, last May 1. He said the gun that killed Nittel was the same used to kill the PLO representative in Brussels, Naim Khader. The Chancellor said the group responsible for the murders was Al Asifa, headed by Abu Nidal, which has threatened his own life and that of Arafat as well.

Kreisky once more admonished Arafat for his remarks on the assassination of Sadat. “You don’t talks about an assassination like that,” he said. But, he added, Arafat had been under some sort of political compulsion to react the way he did. Kreisky and Arafat conferred for 90 minutes and both called their talk “constructive,” Austrian newspapers reported.

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