The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko had detailed talks on the Middle East in Moscow on Thursday (9 March).
SV: Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko with delegations walk round table and take seats in the Kremlin ZOOM TO CU Arafat.
SV: Mr Gromyko seated
SV AND GV: Mr Arafat and Mr Gromyko at table with delegations. (3 shots)
In a meeting with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev on Thursday, Mr Arafat was assured of continued backing for his people's efforts to secure national rights, and to set up their own independent state. Tass said Mr Brezhnev's re-statement of Moscow's support for the Palestinians confirmed that he and Mr Arafat shared the same views on a wide range of Middle East issues. The Soviet News Agency indicated that Mr Brezhnev stressed the need for unity among Arab opponents of Egyptian policy, and for a close alliance between them and the Soviet Union. Mr Arafat left Moscow on Friday (10 March) and flew to East Berlin for a previously unannounced visit - his first to East Germany since 1974. The ADN News Agency in East Berlin said Mr Arafat was invited by the Central Committee of the Ruling Socialist Unity (Communist) party, but did not say how long he would stay.
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Background: The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko had detailed talks on the Middle East in Moscow on Thursday (9 March). They were reported to have held identical views. The Soviet News Agency Tass said the two men considered ways of establishing a just and lasting peace in the area and that "an identity of views and stands was noted on the issues discussed."
SYNOPSIS: Mr Arafat met Mr Gromyko at the Kremlin. He had arrived in the Soviet capital on Monday and his trip followed visits by leaders of four hard-line Arab states-Algeria, Syria, South Yemen and the Libyan Jamahiriyah-who, together with the PLO, formed a rejection front to oppose Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's peace overtures. The talks concentrated on how the Soviet Union could help Egypt's Arab opponents.
Tass said Mr Arafat and Mr Gromyko condemned the settlement negotiations between Israel and Egypt for "passing over the Geneva Conference". Moscow wants a reconvened Geneva Conference, chaired jointly by the United States and the Soviet Union, as a vehicle for settlement, though several Arab states have abandoned this idea. The two men considered that talks between Cairo and Tel Aviv were "gravely detrimental to the interests of the Arab peoples", and Mr Gromyko re-affirmed Soviet backing for the creation of a Palestinian homeland.