Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat won China’s support today for a joint Jordanian-PLO plan for comprehensive Middle East peace talks.
Premier Zhao Ziyang, calling Israel and the United States the main obstacles to peace in the Middle East, told Arafat in a two-hour meeting that Peking supports proposals for an international conference under U.N. auspices.
Arafat, wearing green fatigues with a pistol strapped to his hip, was greeted by Zhao and Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian in Peking’s Great Hall of the People. Arafat and Zhao embraced before discussing the peace plan.
The PLO-Jordanian plan, signed by Arafat and Jordan’s King Hussein on Feb. 11, would bring together all parties involved in the conflict and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members--the United States, the Soviet Union, France, Britain and China.
Israel and the United States, however, have refused to deal with the PLO unless the PLO recognizes Israel’s right to exist.
China, the first country approached by a PLO-Jordanian delegation seeking support for Middle East peace talks, is a staunch PLO backer, providing the PLO with more than $1 million in military and medical aid over the last three years.
The PLO-Jordanian pact proposes peaceful Arab-Israeli coexistence in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from Arab lands it has occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.