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U.S. Said to Avoid Arbitration of Move to Close PLO Mission

February 29, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar said Friday that the United States had failed to respond to a U.N. proposal to bring the issue of the closing of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s U.N. observer mission here to arbitration.

Perez de Cuellar said in a report to the General Assembly that his legal adviser, Carl-August Fleischhaver, requested the United States to name an arbitrator, but the American government ignored his request.

The secretary general’s report came three days before the General Assembly was scheduled to meet in a special session the Arab states and the PLO requested to discuss the closing of the PLO office. The session is due to open Monday.

According to diplomats, the Arabs want the General Assembly to ask the International Court of Justice in The Hague to rule on the closure decision.

According to legislation signed by President Reagan on Dec. 22, the PLO mission must be closed by March 31. The Justice Department, charged with implementing the legislation, has so far failed to order the mission closed.

Sources quoted over the weekend by The New York Times indicated such a move is imminent, but probably would be delayed until after Secretary of State George Shultz returns from a peace-making trip to the Middle East.

The Reagan administration already has ordered the closing of the PLO’s information office in Washington. The PLO is appealing the decision, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in the case Feb. 23.

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