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'Not in the U.S. Interest'

December 22, 1987

Your editorial cast many doubts on the legality of the State Department's decision to close the PLO offices. In fact, the decision announced in late September will not help the efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. On the contrary, it slams the door in the face of moderate Palestinians and Arabs. It also deprives the American people of an avenue to better understand the Palestinian problem.

The timing of the decision casts some other doubts on the motives and intentions behind it:

--The decision works against the efforts exerted by Egypt and other moderate Arab states to pave the way for an international peace conference on the Middle East.

--It comes after PLO chairman Yasser Arafat reiterated the PLO's readiness to negotiate peace through a conference based on U.N. resolutions.

--The decision also comes on the eve of the U.S. presidential election year.

The lack of dialogue with the Palestinians serves no good purpose and endangers the sincere hopes and efforts for peace and stability.

It is a matter of fact that terrorism and extremism are the two major enemies of peace in the Middle East now. Each of those has its roots in the hatred, mistrust, disappointment and poverty that accompanied and followed a series of wars for almost 40 years.

Peace starts with the fulfillment of the legitimate rights of all people to exist and develop within secured and mutually accepted borders.

So let us not lobby to close an office, but to get to the root--to meet the real challenge and to lobby, all of us, for peace before it becomes too late.

EL-SAYED KHALIFA

Press Attache

Consulate General of Egypt

San Francisco

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