INTRODUCTION Palestinian leaders have expressed confidence that a long-delayed meeting of their Parliament-in-exile will be held in Cairo, Egypt, before the end of next month.
SV INT Palestinian Central Committee members seated around table in Damascus, Syria
SV ZOOM INTO CU Central Committee leader Khaled Fahoum (right) seated with P.L.O. chief Yasser Arafat at head of table
SV Committee members
SV Arafat and Fahoum
SV & CU Committee members at table (2 shots)
Important issues facing the National Council include the proposed resumption of the 1973 Geneva Middle East peace conference, and the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. Another issue will be the Palestinians' attitude to the recent reconciliation between Syria and Egypt.
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Background: INTRODUCTION Palestinian leaders have expressed confidence that a long-delayed meeting of their Parliament-in-exile will be held in Cairo, Egypt, before the end of next month. Discussions about the future of the Palestine National Council dominated seven hours of talks on Tuesday night (11 January) in Damascus, Syria. But the meeting failed to reach any firm agreement on the timing of the next National Council, or its exact size.
SYNOPSIS: The 40 members of the Palestinian Central Committee talked into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Among those who attended were the head of the National Council, Mr. Khaled Fahoum on the right, and P.L.O. leader, Yasser Arafat. The Palestinian leaders discussed adding more than a hundred new representatives to the 185-member-council. The new delegates will include -- for the time -- representatives from refugee camps in Syria and the Lebanon. The Council hasn't been convened for over two years, and an official at the meeting said further talks will be held next Saturday (22 January) to finalise the composition and timing of its first session.
Reports from Tuesday's meeting have said that a number of Central Committee members called for another postponement of the National Council, but opposition to this was led by Yasser Arafat. After the meeting, P.L.O. officials wouldn't comment on whether the move was defeated -- but they did say a meeting of the National Council would be held in Cairo before the end of February.