In Moscow on Thursday (29 December), a meeting was held to mark the 13th anniversary of the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
SV: Soviet flag PAN TO flag of Palestinian Liberation Organisation.
SCU: Alexandr Dzasokhov speaking in Russian with others listening. (FOUR SHOTS)
CU: People applaud as head of PLO bureau in Soviet Union Mohamed Shajer walks to dais. (THREE SHOTS)
SV: Mohamed Shajer speaking in Arabic.
CU & SV: Delegates listening. (THREE SHOTS)
SV & CU: Mohamed Shajer speaking while delegates listen.
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Background: In Moscow on Thursday (29 December), a meeting was held to mark the 13th anniversary of the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Alexandr Dzasokhov, the first deputy chairman of the Soviet Committee for the Solidarity of African and Asian Countries, emphasised the Soviet Union's support for the PLO. And Mohamed Shajer, the head of the PLO bureau in Moscow, joined him in condemning the recent talks in Ismailia between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting was held at the Moscow University of Peoples Friendship, and was attended by Soviet and foreign students, and a wide range of academic and public figures. On Wednesday (28 December) the Soviet Government daily newspaper Izvestia had accused Egypt of betraying the Palestinians, and this theme was supported by Mr. Dzasokhov. He emphasised the importance of the PLO and its anniversary and stressed the Soviet Union's backing for the Arab people, whom he said were struggling for their sacred rights, and for a just peace in the Middle East. And he added that Israel and the Arab leaders, who were striving for a separate settlement, would have to take full responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Izvestia, in a long commentary on the Ismailia summit described President Sadat's peace initiative as Egypt's desertion. And Mohamed Shajer supported this view, when he addressed the meeting, describing the talks as treason.
Mr. Shajer said President Sadat's decision to have talks with the Israelis had done great damage to the cause of the Palestinian Arabs.
The PLO was formed in 1964 at the first Arab Summit Meeting. Its first head was Ahmed Shukairy a Palestinian Nationalist, who served for a time as Saudi Arabia's representative to the United Nations. In 1967 Yahya Hammouda succeeded him until 1968 and since then the organisation has been headed by Yasser Arafat.