In Belgium on Wednesday (26 October) the Arab League called on the European Economic Community to recognise the Palestinian Liberation Organisation as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
GV EXTERIOR: Palais d'Egmont, Brussels Belgium.
MVs: Arab delegates enter building
EEC delegates arriving
MV: press photographers look on as Arab delegates arrive (2 shots)
MV: policeman with guard dog.
EEC delegates arrive
INTERIOR MV PAN: delegates seated. (6 shots)
The Euro-Arab dialogues started more than three years ago after the 1973 Middle East war and subsequent oil price increases. But to date they have produced few concrete results. The Arab league has concentrated on political issues while the Europeans have stressed the economic aspects of increased cooperation between the parties.
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Background: In Belgium on Wednesday (26 October) the Arab League called on the European Economic Community to recognise the Palestinian Liberation Organisation as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The league's 22 members issued their call at the start of three days of talks with EEC in Brussels.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting at the Palais d'Egmont was the third time a 'Euro-Arab dialogue' had been held following earlier sessions in Luxembourg and Tunis. The League also called on the EEC to suspend economic and military assistance to Israel because it consolidated occupation of Arab territories.
A statement on behalf of the League was made by Saudi ambassador Taher Radwan. It said the Common Market states should inform European public opinion of the realities of the Middle East situation. The Arabs went on to say that there had been serious developments in the Middle East since the last dialogue in February.
The League's secretary-general, Mahmoud Riad, told the meeting that Israel was 'still challenging the international will by refusing to withdraw from Arab territories.'
He alleged that the Israelis refused to recognise the national rights of the Palestinians, an attitude which was obstructing the efforts made to settle the present conflict. Mr. Riad added that no real peace could be achieved unless there was 'effective participation' of the Palestinians people represented by the PLO. Despite Arab pressure the EEC has so far declined to recognise the PLO. Community negotiators told the League their demands would be discussed in the future by EEC foreign ministers. Officials said the difference of opinion over PLO recognition was likely to dominate the conference.