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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     Sept. 27, 1995, V3, #176
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Arafat Tries for Executive Committee's Blessing

By David Gollust (VOA-Cairo)

PLO leader Yasir Arafat is in Tunis as he continues an effort to line up support behind the accord with Israel expanding Palestinian self rule, to be signed in Washington tomorrow. Arab criticism of the deal continues, some of it from within PLO ranks. Arafat went to Tunis, where the PLO still maintains its headquarters -- to seek the endorsement of the organization's Executive Committee for the accord with Israel.

The committee is the PLO's highest decision-making body and includes factions hostile to Arafat and the expanded autonomy agreement. But the 18-member panel appeared certain to support the document with some reservations -- as did Arafat's cabinet in Gaza late Monday night.

PLO sources said two members of the cabinet, which runs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Jericho, abstained to show their displeasure over security arrangements in Hebron under the next phase of autonomy.

While Israel is committed to withdrawing troops from the major West Bank towns under the accord, it will have a continued security presence in Hebron to protect Jewish settlements which will remain in place there.

The self-rule agreement has been condemned by hardline Palestinian factions and some Arab governments notably Syria. Damascus continued its criticism Tuesday, with the government newspaper Al-Baath saying the firmness of Syria's approach to peace talks with Israel will not be affected by what it described as Arafat's "surrender."

Libya has attacked Arafat as a capitulationist and UN refugee officials here say there are signs the government of Muammar Gadhafi may be preparing to expel more Palestinian workers in an attempt to embarrass the PLO chief.

The PLO leader has gotten enthusiastic support for the agreement from Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Hussein, both of whom will join Arafat at tomorrow's White House signing ceremonies.

What will Thursday's Ceremony Bring?

By Deborah Tate (VOA White House)
The Clinton administration is hoping to keep the momentum going in the Middle East peace process following tomorrow's signing at the White House of an Israeli-PLO accord extending Palestinian self-rule into the West Bank. President Clinton will use the occasion of the signing ceremony to meet separately with Middle East leaders who will be attending the event in an effort to keep the peace process on track.

While the White House will be celebrating the West Bank accord as "a milestone" on the road to Middle East peace during tomorrow's ceremony, administration officials are mindful that tough issues remain along that road.

White House spokesman Mike McCurry says the working sessions with the Middle East leaders are not expected to result in any breakthroughs, but are aimed at keeping the peace process moving along. The White House appears so encouraged by the progress toward Middle East peace, that McCurry says the administration looks forward to the pace of the peace process accelerating.

He says the administration also hopes to use the occasion of Thursday's signing ceremony to press international donors to make good on their pledges to the region -- pledges made as far back as October 1993.

China Supplies Nuclear Help to Iran

By Gil Butler (VOA-Beijing)

China has denied a news report that it has supplied technology to Iran for producing weapons-grade nuclear material. The report, in the British newspaper the "Sunday Telegraph," said China supplied the equipment after Russia stopped delivery of similar technology. The report says Chinese technicians are constructing or have constructed a system for enriching uranium at an Iranian research plant northwest of Tehran.

Iran has repeatedly denied it plans to build nuclear weapons, but the newspaper report described the Chinese technology as the final piece in Iran's nuclear jigsaw puzzle -- a significant contribution to Iranian attempts to produce nuclear warheads. It quoted experts as saying Iran could have nuclear weapons within five years.

At the regular Chinese Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing, spokesman Chen Jian said the Sunday Telegraph report is groundless. He says China has never exported any sensitive technology or equipment concerning reprocessing, enrichment of uranium or production of heavy water and that the report is actually groundless.

Palestinians are Being Expelled from Libya

By David Gollust (VOA-Cairo)

UN officials in Cairo say Libya is apparently moving to expel more Palestinian workers from the country to protest the new Israeli/PLO agreement.

A spokesman here for the UN high commissioner for refugees says the agency has been told at least 1,500 Palestinians have been expelled from Libya and are on their way to the main border crossing with Egypt.

He said only a handful had actually arrived at the border post. There has been no official comment from Libya, or confirmation of news reports that all 30,000 Palestinians in Libya may be affected.

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