The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Ararat has urged Western European nations to take the initiative and prevent an explosion in the Middle East.
The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Ararat has urged Western European nations to take the initiative and prevent an explosion in the Middle East. Mr Ararat was speaking in Lisbon, Portugal, where he was attending an international conference of world solidarity with the Arab people and Palestine. The Conference Secretary General Mr Omar Hamini said the welcome accorded Mr Ararat indicates that the Portuguese Government recognises the PLO.
SYNOPSIS: Among the senior Portuguese politicians who met Yasser Ararat for talks was the Socialist leader Mario Soares. As Prime Minister in 1977 he helped cement stronger ties between Portugal and Israel, and establishing full diplomatic relations. But despite Israeli urging Portugal has not appointed an ambassador.
The Prime Minister Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo also received Mr Ararat and they held talks. The PLO leader's meeting with Western European politicians has been seen as part of a new Palestinian diplomatic offensive for greater recognition.
Mr Ararat concluded his visit to Portugal with a rally in a Lisbon sports stadium, where he was accorded a rapturous welcome by about four thousand people.
Yasser Ararat's message while he has been in Portugal is that the Middle East is a powder keg which is about to explode. He said Western states, because of their special role in international politics and their ties with the Middle East must take an immediate initiative to prevent the powder keg from exploding. He linked his organisation's quest for Palestinian independence with the issue of Arab oil supplies.
Mr Ararat told the delegates from 52 countries at the conference, that Egypt's President Sadat has capitulated to the enemy, but Egypt's people would rise again to the Palestinian cause.