Arafat Aide Meets Gadhafi, Says PLO-Libya Feud Over
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ PLO deputy commander Khalil Wazir said Wednesday he has met in Tripoli with Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, ending a 4-year-old feud between the Libya and the PLO.
Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, told The Associated Press by telephone from Tripoli that he met with Gadhafi for 4 1/2 hours Tuesday and there would be future meetings ″at the highest levels.″
″The atmosphere was excellent,″ said Wazir.
The Libyan news agency JANA reported only that the meeting took place.
Wazir said he discussed with Gadhafi a crackdown by Syrian-backed Shiite Moslem militiamen against Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon.
The attacks, which have gone on sporadically for nearly two years, are aimed at curbing efforts by PLO chairman Yasser Arafat to regain the power base he lost when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.
Wazir quoted Gadhafi as saying that Libya, Syria’s main Arab ally, supported a PLO military presence in Lebanon.
Gadhafi also said he believed the Palestinians should be allowed to ″practice their right to armed struggle against Israel,″ Wazir said.
Arab press reports have said relations between Syrian President Hafez Assad and Gadhafi have soured because of the PLO-Shiite fighting in Lebanon.
Syria has been trying to pacify Lebanon. A major PLO comeback there would undercut Syria’s influence with Moslem and leftist groups.
The Shiites fear a PLO comeback would provoke Israeli reprisals against south Lebanon, where many Shiites live.
Gadhafi and Arafat have been at odds since Gadhafi supported a Syrian- backed mutiny in the Palestine Liberation Organization in May 1983. The rebels sought to topple Arafat after accusing him of seeking to negotiate peace with Israel.
Since then, Arafat has been seeking to reunite the PLO.
Wazir flew to Libya from Algeria on Monday. He would not say how long he planned to stay there or whether more talks with Gadhafi were planned.
Palestinian sources in Nicosia, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the meeting capped more than a month of contacts between PLO and Libyan officials.