PLO reopens office in Lebanon
The Palestine Liberation Organisation had been closed since the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.india Updated: May 16, 2006 14:28 IST
The Palestine Liberation Organisation has reopened its Beirut office that had been closed since the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
The ceremony on Monday was boycotted by Hamas and other militant Islamic groups to protest it having been led by an official of the mainstream Fatah organisation.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a political moderate and the Fatah leader, has been involved in an increasingly bitter power struggle with the new Hamas-led Palestinian government for control of the Palestinian security forces since the militant group won January legislative elections.
Abbas Zaki, the Fatah official, flanked by Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh and Fatah officials, cut a ribbon and raised the Palestinian flag at the PLO building in a southern Beirut suburb.
The ceremony was also attended by the Lebanese ministers of the economy, labour and tourism as well as lawmakers.
"Today Palestine returns to Lebanon and Lebanon returns to Palestine," Zaki said in a speech.
"I tell my Palestinian brothers that this office represents all Palestinians, be they in the political process or in the opposition."
The Hamas' representative in Lebanon played down the significance of the PLO move.
"The Palestinian representative office to be opened in Beirut represents only the PLO which does not represent all the Palestinian people," Osama Hamdan said.
He proposed the formation of a joint delegation representing Fatah and all Palestinian factions to hold talks with Lebanese officials on the condition of the 350,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.