Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organisation are hoping to replace the present Arab strategy in the Middle East with a tougher policy towards Israel, Egypt and the United States.
DAMASCUS CU INTERIOR: Yaser Arafat PLO leader, PAN TO President Al Assad of Syria
CU: Syria's Foreign Minister, Abdel Halim Khaddam, on right seated next to George Habssh and Isam Kadi, PLO representatives
CU: President Assad
CU ZOOM OUT FROM: Arafat TO President Assad during their talks
ROME SV INTERIOR: PLO's Rome Representative Namer Hammad, speaking to Journalists in Arabic and translated into Italian
SV PAN: Journalists listening
Mr Hammad speaking (in English)
HAMMAD: "The EEC governments have recognised certain realities in the Middle East problem especially the Palestinian problem. I mean that the Palestinian problem is not the problem of refuges, its the problem of the people who have the right for self-determination. They have recognised it is an element, and one of the main elements in the conflict. Also the EEC countries have recognised that Jerusalem represents a big part which the Israelis cannot go ahead neglecting and refusing to consider all the international laws by considering all of Jerusalem is united and the capital of Israel. But at the same time it is not enough because the declaration hasn't recognised the right of the Palestinian people to the creation of their independent state, they haven't recognised that the PLO is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."
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Background: Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organisation are hoping to replace the present Arab strategy in the Middle East with a tougher policy towards Israel, Egypt and the United States. They are to submit a joint working paper on the matter to the next Arab summit conference in Jordan in November.
SYNOPSIS: PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, issued the statement after meeting Syria's President Hafez Al Assad in Damascus.
Syria's Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam and other PLO officials also took part in the talks.
Syria and the Palestinians agreed that there was a need to introduce basic changes in the prevailing Arab strategy.
Meanwhile the PLO's representative in Rome, Nemer Hammad, has responded to the European Common Market's Venice declaration on the Middle East. The EEC called for the PLO to be associated with Middle East peace negotiations.