Bush Threatens to Cut U.N. Funds in PLO Spat

From Associated Press

The Bush Administration threatened today to suspend all U.S. financial support for the United Nations if the General Assembly upgrades the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

State Department spokeswoman Margaret D. Tutwiler also condemned as "objectionable" a resolution under consideration in the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization to channel food assistance to Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza through the PLO.

"We strongly support humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people," she said, noting the U.S. contributed $63 million this year.

"The PLO should not be a conduit for international assistance to the Palestinians," Tutwiler said.

"The United States continues to believe that raising this type of political issue in a meeting of a technical U.N. body is wholly inappropriate."

The PLO has observer status as an organization. The move afoot would elevate the PLO to observer status as a state.

Tutwiler said the United States was making it clear in notes to various governments and to officials at the United Nations that "any action to change the PLO status will have the most serious consequences."

Asked if U.S. support would be withdrawn, the spokeswoman said, "We feel so strongly about this we would cut off funds."

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