Egypt has proposed an amendment "working paper" on reconvening the Geneva Middle East peace talks that would name the Palestine Liberation Organization as one of the participants in the conference.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi said in Cairo yesterday that this is one of serveral amendments and clarifications Egypt requested from the United States in a message from President Anwar Sadat to Carter.
Israel and the United States have worked out a plan for the conference that does not include the PLO and Israel has insisted that it will not sit down at the peace table with the PLO "under and circumstances."
The "working paper" setting out the procedure for the renewed peace talks proposes that all the Arab parties be represented by a pan-Arab delegation that would include "Palestinian Arabs." It makes no specific mention of the PLO.
State Department spokesman Hodding Carter III said yesterday that Egypt's call for changes in the American-Israeli working paper is being studied along with "comments" from other Arab nations.
There is "considerable back and forth" in diplomatic channels over the working paper, Carter said, but he added, "I don't think it would be true that a complete revision of the paper" is likely, as some reports claim.
The spokesman declined any direct comment on Egypt's call for naming the PLO as a conference participant. Carter said the Egyptian move illustrates that the difficulties for resolving the question of palestinian participation "are immense, as we always said."
Speaking before a joint session of the Egyptian Parliament's foreign relations, Arab affairs and national security committees, Fahmi said "Egypt's view, following agreement with (PLO chairman) Yasser Arafat, is that the PLO should be mentioned by name, and this has been conveyed to President Carter in today's message."
Arafat left Cairo Tuesday night following two days of consultations with Sadat and Fahmi, mainly on the working paper, which the United States and Israel hammered out Oct. 5.
"Let it be clear that the PLO alone has the competence . . . to speak in the name of the Palestinians or to send representatives to Geneva," Fahmi said.