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Palestinians, Reversing Stand, Decide to Attend Peace Talks

February 20, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

After a series of mixed signals, the Palestinian delegation announced Wednesday that it will, in fact, go to Washington for the fourth round of bilateral peace talks with Israel, set to open Monday.

Their leaders were insisting as late as Tuesday that the planned departure of the Palestinian contingent of what is officially a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation had been “suspended.”

The delegation’s spokeswoman, Hanan Ashrawi, blamed Israel’s arrest of two West Bank Palestinians who were to accompany the delegation.

But the suspension apparently is now off. Ashrawi declared Wednesday that the delegation would leave Thursday for Amman, Jordan, enroute to Washington.

Apparently the influence of the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership in Tunis prevailed over the anger of the local Palestinian leaders.

Only hours after they announced at a news conference here that they would not be going to Washington, word came from Tunis that they would.

PLO spokesman Ahmed Abed Rahman quoted his chief, Yasir Arafat, as saying that the Palestinians would go to Washington “so as not to give (Israeli Prime Minister) Yitzhak Shamir any pretext to disrupt the peace process.”

East Jerusalem received the message from Tunis and obeyed. Local Palestinian leader Faisal Husseini left for Amman on Tuesday to coordinate with the Jordanians on the new round of talks.

Observers here said the Palestinians feel they have fulfilled their obligation to protest the arrests of their two colleagues and would not repeat the “hard-to-get” tactics that left them out of the multinational conference on Middle East regional issues that was held in Moscow Jan. 28 and 29.

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