AP NEWS
Related topics

Arafat Claims Visa Denial Violates International Law With AM-UN-PLO, Bjt

November 28, 1988

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ PLO chief Yasser Arafat said Monday the United States violated international law by refusing him a visa to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week.

″Why are they afraid that I speak to world public opinion and explain the new Palestinian decisions?″ Arafat said to reporters in Baghdad, where the Palestine Liberation Organization has its military headquarters.

At a meeting Nov. 15 in Algiers, the Palestine National Council declared an independent Palestinian state and implicitly recognized Israel. The council acts as the PLO legislature.

Arafat called the U.S. rejection of his visa application ″a sheer violation of international law″ and ″a grave violation of the 1947 headquarters treaty″ between the United States and United Nations.

He said the United States chose to ignore international approval of the new Palestinian policy. Palestinian officials say 67 nations have declared support for an independent Palestine.

Only Israel has welcomed a statement by Secretary of State George P. Shultz denying the visa on grounds that Arafat was ″an accessory″ to terrorism ″by PLO elements.″

An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said: ″Maybe now part of the world will have to re-examine the situation and take another look at the record of the PLO. It’s quite a bloody record.″

In his comments to journalists Monday, Arafat said Jordan was seeking to have the General Assembly debate on the Palestinian issue, scheduled to begin Thursday, moved to Geneva or Vienna so the PLO chairman could attend.

Jordan’s official daily Al-Sha’b said in an editorial: ″This American decision against Palestinians and Arabs and many other countries in the world aims at suffocating the moderate and positive Palestinian voice ... the voice of peace that everyone in the Arab world is calling for.″

Arab criticism of the visa refusal was echoed by communist nations and by Western allies of the United States, which urged Washington to reconsider. President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, a U.S. ally who supports moving the debate, also said he had asked Shultz and President Reagan to change the decision.

Mubarak said he hoped ″the United States will respond because that will help to push the peace process in the region.″

Arafat called the Palestine National Council declarations, which include renunciation of violence outside Israel and Israeli occupied territory, ″the last chance for peace″ in the Middle East.

U.S. ally Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the Persian Gulf region asked Washington to revise a decision ″which does not harmonize with its principles of peace, justice and harmony inthe world,″ a Saudi official said in a statement carried by the kingdom’s official news agancy.

Syria, which has feuded with Arafat for years, accused the United States of favoritism toward Israel and declared: ″We all know ... the Americans laud the strong and despise the weak.″

Saud Osaimi, Kuwaiti minister for state for foreign affairs, summoned U.S. Ambassador Nathaniel Howell to ″express Kuwait’s deep regret.″ A government statement said Howell was told the decision ″does not conform with the responsibilities of the United States and its role toward the world community in preserving world peace and stability.″

In Bahrain, the Foreign Ministry expressed ″surprise and astonishment.″ Qatar said Washington should ″revise its unjustified decision ... to prove its credibility in a serious quest for a just and lasting settlement.″

Sheik Hamdan Bin Zayed, foreign undersecretary of the United Arab Emirates, said reconsidering the decision was ″a necessity to bolster the efforts exerted for establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.″

North Yemen’s parliamentary urged Arab and Islamic governments, along with ″peace-loving countries,″ to make a unified response to the U.S. action.

It said denying a visa was ″no response to the positive steps that the Palestinian leadership took and the sincere desire it demonstrated for ... a just peace.″

AP RADIO
Update hourly