US Government Dissociates Self from Stockholm Meeting With AM-Arafat Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department on Tuesday distanced itself from the meeting in Stockholm between American Jews and Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat, but a department spokesman said the government will be represented at a special United Nations meeting in Geneva.
″We’re not a part ... of those contacts,″ department spokesman Charles Redman said, discussing the meeting of the five-member Jewish delegation from the United States.
Redman declined comment when asked whether the government was informed in advance about the meeting, arranged by Swedish Foreign Minister Sten Anderssen.
Morris B. Abram, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, criticized those meeting with Arafat, saying they ″have served neither our country, nor Israel, nor the cause of peace....″
″These American Jews naively permitted themselves to be used by the PLO chairman in his latest propaganda exercise, a continuation of his policy of making pronouncements not publicly, nor to the government of Israel, but rather to willing dupes prepared to broadcast his latest deceptions,″ Abram said in a statement from New York.
Redman would not comment on reports that the Egyptian government is trying to persuade Arafat to comply with U.S. demands for more explicit recognition of the state of Israel than contained in the recent PLO declaration at Algiers.
Arafat will be speaking at a special U.N. Assembly session that was moved to Geneva after the United States refused, on grounds of his terrorist connections, to give Arafat an entry visa to address the assembly in New York.
Despite the furor over the visa denial, the United States continues to be interested and active in pursuing peace in the Middle East, Redman said.
The ″peace process ... will continue to be a top priority item,″ he declared.
″Despite all this turmoil on the question of the visa, that nonetheless has nothing to do with our regard for the Palestinian issue, and so we believe that the debate in Geneva will be an important one, and we’ll be there,″ he said.