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Tuesday, 26 November 1974
Page: 2707

Senator YOUNG (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -I ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Does the Government intend formally to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation? If so, what is to be the basis of that recognition?

Senator WILLESEE -The Palestine Liberation Organisation is not a state. This is one problem which is flowing right across the very delicate negotiations which are going on today in the Middle East and at the United Nations. What has happened is that at last, after all this time, at Rabat the other Arab countries have recognised the PLO as the political wing. That is the situation at the moment.

Senator Sir Magnus Cormack - Political wing of what?

Senator WILLESEE - The political wing of the Palestinian people in the Arab countries. They recognise now that the PLO has the right to speak on their behalf whereas, up to now, there has never been any clear indication, as I understand it, of the various sections. This has created a vastly new situation in the Middle East. As the Senate knows, the United Nations took the unprecedented step of allowing Mr Arafat to speak there the other day. That is the situation which has developed at the moment. The PLO is not a state because at the moment it has no definable ground such as other countries have. That is the difference between that organisation and several other countries.

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