The United States has decided to grant visas to three PLO members so they can attend a New York conference on peace in the Middle East, the State Department said today.
PLO members who apply for visas are scrutinized under a U.S. law that permits exclusion of terrorists, but spokesman Charles Redman said the department determined that “none of the three had any record of personal involvement in terrorist activities.”
Redman identified the three as Nabil Shaath, Afif Safieh and Noha Nicholas Tadros.
Shaath is an adviser to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and head of the Palestine National Council’s political committee. Safieh is the PLO representative in the Netherlands. Biographical information on Tadros was not immediately available.
The spokesman said a recommendation to grant waivers to the 1974 law governing visas was made by Secretary of State James A. Baker III and approved by Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh.
A visa for Arafat to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York was denied last November by then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz.
But since then, Arafat and the PLO have further met U.S. conditions on renouncing terrorism and recognizing Israel’s right to exist, clearing the way for a U.S.-PLO dialogue after a 13-year break.