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Missouri Rep. Wants PLO Sanctions

July 11, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Republican congressman called Thursday for a crackdown on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat that would impose travel sanctions on and deny visas to Arafat supporters.

Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., testified before a House International Relations Committee panel on the ``Arafat Accountability Act.″ Blunt acknowledged the Bush administration has not embraced the measure but said it fits with President Bush’s position on the Mideast.

Bush has accused the Palestinian leadership of corruption and involvement with terror attacks on Israel.

He is insisting on widespread reform in the Palestinian movement before helping to set up a Palestinian state, and he has not called on Israel to reverse its latest military drive into Palestinian-held areas as part of an anti-terror campaign.

Under the measure sponsored by Blunt, the United States would deny visas to any member of the Palestine Liberation Organization; downgrade the PLO’s representation in the United States; impose travel restrictions on the senior PLO representative to the United Nations; and freeze any U.S. assets of the PLO or Arafat. It also would require a report every three months detailing any acts of terrorism by the PLO.

Blunt said the measure ``sends a strong message that the United States will neither tolerate nor ignore Arafat’s blatant refusal to work for the peace he says he seeks.″

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