Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (P.L.O.), arrived in Moscow on Monday (28?
Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (P.L.O.), arrived in Moscow on Monday (28 April) for talks with Soviet leaders believed to be centred on arrangements for the resumption of the Geneva Peace Conference.
The official news agency Tass briefly announced Mr. Arafat's arrival, but gave no indication of how long what it termed his "friendly visit" would last. The P.L.O. leader was last in Moscow in November, and his latest visit comes within a week of visit there by both the Egyptian and Syrian Foreign Minister -- thus winding up the first stage of a renewed Soviet diplomatic initiative on the Middle East.
During his visit, Mr. Arafat was expected to meet Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Chairman Alexei Kosygin to map out a unified Arab-Soviet position at a reconvened Geneva conference. The high level at which Mr. Arafat is being received underlines how seriously the Soviet is treating this visit; until recently, he was received only by semi-official organisations.
The P.L.O. has become a key element in preparations for a resumption of the Geneva talks. Israel has branded it a terrorist organisation and refused to deal with it, while Arab states recognise it as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.
In his latest round of talks with the Arabs, Mr. Gromyko is believed to be stressing the need to include a P.L.O. delegation at Geneva -- but at the same time balanced with promises to guarantee Israel's continued existence.