Greece has agreed in principle to the establishment of a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) office in Athens.
GV EXTERIOR Athens Foreign Ministry
SV INTERIOR Greek Foreign Minister George Rallis seated with PLO representative Farouk Khadoumi
SV (SOF START) Opposition leader Andreas Papandreou shakes hands with Khadoumi and officials and all take seats (2 shots)
SV Papandreou speaking in English
SV Khadoumi speaking in Arabic
PAPANDREOU: "It is a great pleasure to receive in Greece, Mr. Khadoumi, a man who is at the leadership of the PLO. And to us, as Greeks, and as members of our party, our movement, we identify absolutely and totally with the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, independence and for a state of their own."
The Greek Government still hasn't decided whether Mr. Arafat will be invited to visit their country.
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Background: Greece has agreed in principle to the establishment of a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) office in Athens. The decision was taken on Monday (28 January), during a visit to Greece by the head of the PLO's political department, Mr. Farouk Khadoumi.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Khadoumi first called at the Foreign Office, where he met Foreign Minister George Rallis. The two men discussed the proposed establishment of a PLO office in Athens and the possibility of a visit to Greece later this year (1980) by PLO leader, Mr. Yasser Arafat.
The following day (Tuesday, 29 January), Mr. Khadoumi was received by Greek opposition leader Mr. Andreas Papandreou. His Socialist Movement Party has been pressing the government to invite Mr. Arafat to visit. Mr. Papandreou believes the PLO's campaign for Palestinian autonomy is similar to Greece's struggle with Turkey over Cyprus. He touched on this link when he welcomed Mr. Khadoumi.
Mr. Khadoumi said his visit to Athens had been a success, and he hoped the PLO office could open soon. The exact nature of the work of such an office was not clear, but a government spokesman said it would be decided later whether it would serve as a diplomatic outpost or as an information bureau.