Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's campaign for international recognition for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is reported to have been boosted by talks with the EEC Council's President elect and Luxembourg's Foreign Minister, Mr.
SV Gaston Thorn, President of EEC Council of Ministers seated with Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader and speaking to reporters.
SV PAN FROM Official TO Arafat and Thorn standing together and speaking to reporters. (2 SHOTS)
SV Arafat talking to reporters.
SV Mr. Thorn entering car and being driven away.
REPORTER:"Can you tell us if you got clarification of the PLO's position on the Venice declaration?"
THORN:"I asked President Arafat to give me full details of his appreciation involved and then about Venice and about the European attitude in general and I think he did, and I think I got the message."
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Background: Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's campaign for international recognition for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is reported to have been boosted by talks with the EEC Council's President elect and Luxembourg's Foreign Minister, Mr. Gaston Thorn. Mr. Thorn arrived in Beirut on Monday (4 August) on a fact-finding tour of the Middle East on behalf of the Common Market.
SYNOPSIS: Soon after Mr. Thorn arrived from Luxembourg he joined Mr. Arafat in a news conference. During his tour, he will be exploring the role Western Europe could play in promoting a comprehensive Middle East peace. He told reporters a European initiative could be useful and that he would have talks on the subject with leaders in the region. Mr. Thorn was asked about the reaction to the EEC's recent position on the issue.
The Common Market summit in Venice in June called for PLO involvement in negotiations for a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East.
During their talks, Mr. Arafat told the Common Market representative that the Palestinians would establish a state on any part of the West Bank from which Israel withdrew. The Palestinian leader called on Western Europe to break away from the United States-sponsored talks between Israel and Egypt and take an independent initiative.
Some Western European leaders have been worried by the militant language of Palestinian statements calling for the liquidation of the state of Israel. But Mr. Thorn reportedly left with assurances from Mr. Arafat that the PLO is not committed to a hard line policy of total military liquidation of Israel, and the door is still open to political negotiations. There was no communique after the meeting but it was reported that Mr. Arafat expects concrete peace proposals from the EEC.