A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) told a news conference in Beirut on Friday (18 October) that the Organsiation warmly welcomed the United Nations' invitation to take part in next month's general Assembly debate on Palestine.
SV Poster on wall "Palestis: 25 Ans d'exil et occupation" and portraits of Palestinian leaders (including Arafat) (4 shots)
SV Newsmen seated and listening
SV Dr. al-Shaath speaks in Arabic
Initials BB/1802 JW/JB/BB/1807
Dr. Al-Shaath spoke to newsmen in both English and Arabic. Part of his statement in Arabic appears on film.
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Background: A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) told a news conference in Beirut on Friday (18 October) that the Organsiation warmly welcomed the United Nations' invitation to take part in next month's general Assembly debate on Palestine.
Dr. Nabil Al-Shaath -- a close associate of PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the leader of the PLO delegation to the UN which pushed for the invitation -- told newsmen that the UN's invitation was "historically unprecedented", and that it gives the PLO an opportunity to adjust the "historically-wrong decision" which has denied "the very existence and the very rights of the Palestinian people".
The UN Resolution to invite PLO participation in the debate came on Monday (14 October) night. The 138-nation body passed it by 105 votes to four (Israel, the US, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia voted against). The 20 abstensions included Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and West Germany. France and Italy were among those which voted in favour.
Israel was quick to denounce the invitation. A Foreign Ministry statement said the vote was not binding on Israel and that it showed the prejudice of the current membership of the General assembly. The statement said the PLO was not a liberation movement but "a roof organisation for terrorist groups". One leading Israeli newspaper said the UN had "given the green light to political assassins everywhere."
However, the Arab world -- and particularly Syria, which introduced the Resolution -- is jubilant at the move.
It is now expected that the PLO will form a provisional government in exile to represent the Palestinian people ... but this is not expected to happen until after the Arab Summit Conference, scheduled for Morocco's capital, Rabat, on 26 October.
No comment on the situation has yet been made by the other Palestine guerrilla organisations -- most notably the second-major one, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP, together with three others, form what is called the "Rejection Front".
The other three are the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (General Command), the Iraqu-backed Arab Liberation Front and the Popular Struggle Front.