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PLO Official Seeks Ecuadorian Support

December 9, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Issam Besseiso, the Palestine Liberation Organization representative for the Andean region of South America, has requested authorization from the Ecuadorian National House of Representatives to open a PLO office in Quito as the first step towards recognition of a “Palestinian state.”

Besseiso, who is based in Lima, Peru, where the PLO is not accorded diplomatic status, met last week with the Legislative Commission on International Affairs in Quito. The Commission’s president, Alejandre Carrion, declared, in reference to commonly accepted international principles of co-existence “shared by the Ecuadorian and Palestinian peoples,” that “there will be a concrete response to each one of the petitions presented.”

The groundwork for the PLO approach to the Ecuadorian government was laid last May. Gil Barragan, then Vice President of the Ecuadorian House of Representatives and leader of the Congressional delegation that toured the Middle East following the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border flare-up of January, was reported to have stated, in an interview with the Kuwaiti News Agency, that Ecuador supported the Palestinian cause.

When questioned whether Ecuador would permit the PLO to open an office, to represent its interests, in Quito, the legislator explained: “The Parliament will support that question if it’s approved by the Minister of Foreign Relations.”


Ecuador, the smallest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has made a strong overture for support to the Arab nations in 1981. Informed sources in Quito maintain that this move is motivated by the need for an expanded market for its goods, credit with which to finance its burgeoning internal development and diplomatic backing in its unresolved territorial dispute with Peru.

Traditionally close Israeli-Ecuadorian relations may cool noticeably if Ecuador recognizes the legitimacy of the PLO. In the past Israel has aided Ecuador in a number of fields, including irrigation, transportation, agricultural and rural development and military training. Ecuadorian, the Ecuadorian national airline, flies Boeing 727 jets sold and still serviced by the Israelis.

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