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PFLP resumes talks with Fateh

Led by Deputy General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa, the Popular Front has begun a second session of talks with Fateh in Amman, Jordan, being a followup to the first session held in Cairo on August 1st.

On September 28, 1999 a delegation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine met in Amman, Jordan with representatives of the Fateh Movement. The meeting came two days before the scheduled return of the PFLP's Deputy General Secretary, Abu Ali Mustafa, to Palestinian territory controlled currently by the Palestine Authority.

Abu Ali Mustafa announced prior to the meeting, that the PFLP delegation would present five working papers at the session. These would deal with "democratic reforms in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, activation of its role in confronting the dangers confronting the Palestinian people in the course of the so-called final status negotiations, including major issues of their destiny such as Jerusalem, the right of return, and the refugees. The working papers will also deal with the issue of announcing a Palestinian state and the timing of that announcement, and the launch of a working plan for the revival of Palestinian professional and popular federations."

The PFLP Deputy General Secretary reaffirmed that the Popular Front would not take part in the final settlement negotiations, "because the Israeli administration had already defined a 'ceiling' for them and imposed bans forcing these negotiations to serve Israel's interests." Abu Ali Mustafa called instead for the Palestinian side to hold fast to United Nations and international resolutions.

Regarding Israel's giving its permission to Abu Ali Mustafa to return to Palestine, the PFLP Deputy General Secretary said his return to Palestine was expected to take place on Thursday, (30 September 1999). He said that permission for his return had been conveyed to him by the Palestine Authority. "We will take advantage of this opportunity to enter the homeland. This is a sacred right and our residence abroad was always under duress."

Taking part in the talks on the PFLP side, along with Abu Ali Mustafa were PFLP Politburo members Abd al-Rahim Mallouih; Taysir Qub`ah, (who is also vice- president of the Palestine National Council); Jamil Majdalawi; Mahir al-Tahir; and Sabir Muhyi al-Din.

Speaking before the opening of the session, Jamil Majdalawi told reporters that it was probable that the PFLP would take part in future meetings of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Central Council, though he added that such participation depended on the outcome of the meeting with Fateh. "Agreements on such participation would be the subject of a discussion by the leading bodies of the Popular Front after the meeting," Majdalawi said.

The Palestine Central Council is a representative body that lies between the National Council and the Executive Committee in the hierarchy of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

For his part, Fateh representative al-Tayyib Abd al-Rahim, who heads the Palestinian presidency, told the press that the meeting with the PFLP aimed at completing the round of talks held in Cairo in August. He emphasised that Fateh and the Palestine Authority seek to coordinate with "all brothers on the Palestinian stage at a time when we are on the threshhold of the final status negotiations."

Abd al-Rahim announced that his side had recently held meetings with a number of leaders of the Hamas movement inside Palestine, "where," he said, "we agreed with them on some issues." In addition he noted that Fateh had had meetings with the Islamic Salvation Party, a group close to Hamas, "and we agreed with them that they should become one of the political detachments within the Palestine Liberation Organisation and that they would attend future meetings of the Palestine Central Council."

Yahya Mousa, General Secretary of the Islamic Salvation Party (which, like the PFLP, opposes the so-called "Oslo peace process"), had said on 23 September 1999 that his party favoured participation in any dialogue concerning the holding of the Central Council. Mousa added, however, that his party was not for particpation in the final status talks before an agreement has been reached within the Palestinian movement on the basis on which those talks with Israel would be held.

Fateh's Abd al-Rahim commented that all these meetings indicated that "the Palestinian people are striving to unite their forces as they sense the critical nature of the current stage."