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|Saturday, September 09, 2000, updated at 18:35(GMT+8)|
PLO Discusses Declaration of Palestinian StateThe Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) started its meetings Saturday to discuss whether or not to declare an independent Palestinian state on September 13 as scheduled.
The Council will review a detailed report submitted by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on the latest developments of the political situation, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and Arafat's recent world tour to rally support for the declaration of the statehood.
Salim Zanoun, chairman of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), said on Friday it is likely that the Central Council will postpone the declaration of statehood.
Zanoun warned that he will resign from chairmanship of the PNC, the Palestinian supreme power organ, if such a postponement is to go beyond this year end.
The 129-member Central Council, which comprises all factions in the PLO, called on all its members in the Palestinian territories to attend the two-day meetings. However, just over 100 of the Council members reported attended the two-day meeting.
Some Palestinian groups opposing to the peace talks with Israel, including the radical Islamic militant movement Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, said they will boycott the meetings.
Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin attended the meetings of the Council held in April 1999 as an observer. That meeting decided to postpone the declaration of the statehood due to the Israeli general elections in May that year.
Arafat has pledged to declare statehood on September 13, the date fixed last year by Israel and the Palestinians to reach a final peace agreement.
He has been under strong pressure from the United States and Israel, who oppose a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, after a summit between the three sides in the U.S. in July failed to produce an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
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