The nine-day Congress of the Palestine National Council -- in effect, its parliament in exile -- has come to an end in Cairo, Egypt.
The nine-day Congress of the Palestine National Council -- in effect, its parliament in exile -- has come to an end in Cairo, Egypt. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was unanimously re-elected to his post as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Council's leading faction.
SYNOPSIS: The fifteen-member Executive Committee was elected at the end of the Council's thirteenth Congress. Five new members were appointed. Four are independents, and the fifth is Mr. Abdel-Rahim Ahmed, Secretary-General of the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front, the ALF. But while the Council was celebrating Mr. Arafat's re-election, the hard-line Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine decided to continue its boycott of the Executive Committee's work. The Front suspended its co-operation in 1974, alleging that the PLO leadership had violated decisions taken at the previous Congress. During the course of this Congress, the PFLP continued their hard-line approach to Israel, with Mr. Arafat's PLO adopting a less rigid approach to the proposed peace talks.
Before the Executive Committee elections and closing speeches, the Council adopted a 15-point resolution which effectively take a slightly harder line on the peace moves -- reflecting a compromise between hard-liners and moderates. Later Mr. Arafat spoke about the reported differences among the Palestinians.
Mr. Arafat later called on President Sadat at his residence in Giza. The Egyptian leader has been leading the moderate pan-Arab effort to reconvene the Geneva talks, and has offered Israel border guarantees if it agrees to the establishment of an independent Palestine on the West Bank of the Jordan, now under Israeli occupation. The guarantees could even extend to a United Nations border force and a military pact with the United States, he says. But now the Palestinians, while agreeing to accept the establishment of an independent homeland, have re-affirmed their ultimate aim to dismantle the Jewish state entirely. The new 15-point resolution also lays down fresh conditions for attending any Geneva talks, which Israel will not be prepared to accept, said observers in Cairo.