Arafat asks the mediation of the Arab League for Abu al-Einin
Lebanon-Palestine, Politics, 11/3/1999
Although the visit of the chairman of the political bureau of the PLO, Farouk al-Qaddoumi, to be held on Friday to Beirut had been earlier scheduled before the death sentence in absentia against the secretary of the Fatah movement in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Sultan Abu al-Einin, this case will dominate the talks to be held by Qaddoumi amid intensive Palestinian moves to deal with this new development.
It is clear in this context that the Palestinian Authority is pressuring for a settlement of Abu al-Einin's case politically and diplomatically, whereas the Lebanese Authority confines this matter to its judicial framework which makes it impossible at all to negotiate in this matter. Therefore, Abu al-Einin has only to resort to the judicial route, either to surrender or take his case to the court of cassation, which implicitly means total abidance to the judicial aspect of this case.
Well-informed sources in Beirut expect that by the issue's resolution, a new representative for Fatah will be appointed in Lebanon, despite the fact that there is no indication of such a change. However, the Palestinian Authority gives signals every day on its adherence to the current representative (Abu al-Einin).
In light of the Lebanese refusal to deal with this issue politically, a change of stances has been noted by PLO executive committee member Shafiq al-Hout, who was the PLO's former representative in Lebanon, as he said "Why do we appear here (in Lebanon) with our weapons, while the Palestinian who carries the weapon in Gaza is jailed?" In a lecture he delivered in Sidon on Sunday al-Hout added, "People, no longer want to talk about us, as we had trained and qualified fighters."
Meanwhile, the AFP quoted the PLO representative in Cairo, Muhammad Sbeih, as saying that the Palestinian Authority asked the Arab League officially on Sunday to intervene with the Lebanese government to abrogate the death sentence released against Abu al-Einin.
Al-Sbeih told the pressmen that, "The Palestinian Authority asked the secretary general of the Arab League to interfere with the Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss to deal with this issue calmly in order not to affect the sisterly Lebanese - Palestinian relations."
He added at the conclusion of his meeting with the AL chief that the "Palestinian leadership considered this in-absentia conviction as oppressive and hasty and constituting a material for disturbing and intensifying relations between Lebanon and Palestine."
Al-Hoss said in a press statement that the European Union's Middle East peace process coordinator, Miguel Moratinos, inquired about the death sentence in absentia against Abu al-Einin but did not ask for making mediation. Al-Hoss added that Moratinos will debate this issue later during his visit to Lebanon on November 10 and 11.
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