A military chief of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) claimed on November 22 that the Soviet Union supported unity within the organisation.
AMMAN, JORDAN (NOVEMBER 23, 1984) (REUTERS JORDAN) (U)
GVs Delegates arriving. (3 SHOTS) 0.14
GVs & SV Delegates seated, including PLO leader Yasser Arafat, listening to speaker (3 SHOTS) 0.26
SV PAN & GV Arafat speaking and taking seat. (Arabic SOT). 0.46
SV Arafat and other delegates leaving meeting, and declining to answer reporter's question. 0.55
SV Khalil Wazir, Arafat's second in command speaking. (English SOT) TRANSCRIPT: JIHAD: (SEQ 5) "We're not told about any boycotting of the PNC, and we are welcoming any delegation coming."
REPORTER: "Is there any sign of disapproval?"
JIHAD: "No, we don't think so, because in a discussion with the brother (indistinct) from some Soviet delegations, they were telling him 'we are still beside the PLO, beside its unity and supporting its unity', and this is what they declared."1.30
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Background: A military chief of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) claimed on November 22 that the Soviet Union supported unity within the organisation. Khalil Wazir, better known under his pseudonym of 'Abu Jihad', was answering reporters' questions as the Palestinian National Council (PNC) settled down to detailed work in the Jordanian capital, Amman, after overcoming a boycott by pro-Syrian Palestinian factions. The Damascus-based speaker of the PNC Khaled Al-Fahoum, had refused to attend the session, as have almost all representatives of five Syrian-backed guerrilla organisations. Fahoum has predicted the PNC would not succeed in obtaining a quorum and the session would therefore be unconstitutional. But PNC deputy speaker, Salim Zaanon who attended the session, declared after a roll call that the required two-thirds quorum had been surpassed, and the boycott therefore overcome. Delegates at the tightly guarded opening session, held on November 21, heard an appeal by King Hussein of Jordan for co-operation between the Palestinian and his country. King Hussein said such co-operation was required as a means of recovering territory under Israeli occupation. An attempt last year to find a joint PLO-Jordanian approach to peace foundered on opposition from the Syrian-backed hardliners, who have since rebelled against PLO leader Yasser Arafat. King Hussein stressed that the PLO must accept United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for Israeli withdrawal from the land seized in 1967. The PLO has so far refused to accept the resolution saying that treats the Palestinian question only as a refugee problem. Over the next five days, the PNC is due to hear various reports, including one by PLO Foreign Minister, Farouk Kaddoumi. The PNC has received messages of support from Yugoslavia, Tunisia, India, Morocco and Algeria, but no 'official' messages from the Soviet union.