Secret US talks with PLO continue, newspaper says

The Reagan administration has continued contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization as part of at least seven years of secret US contacts with the PLO, the Los Angeles Times said. The newspaper said that despite public pronouncements emphasizing that negotiations were prohibited, the United States had been in contact with the PLO on subjects ranging from the safety of US diplomats to the chances of a Middle East peace.

The report said the contacts began with talks initiated by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974; and when President Ford ordered the US Navy to evacuate Americans from Beirut in 1976, US diplomats and intelligence officers enlisted PLO help in providing security for the operation.

The Carter administration made two concerted attempts to bring the PLO into peace talks with Israel, carrying on intensive indirect negotiations with PLO leader Yasser Arafat, it said.

Security discussions have continued despite Mr. Reagan's strong pro-Israel stand and condemnation of the PLO as a terrorist group, it added.

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