Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, facing a revolt by guerrilla officers, flew from Damascus, Syria, to Romania yesterday on a surprise visit, Reuter reported. The official Romanian news agency Agerpres said he had come at the invitation of President Nicolae Ceausescu.
Salah Khalaf, a close aide to Arafat, is in Moscow, and the PLO chairman's visit to Romania raised speculation that he might be seeking Eastern Bloc support against the dissidents.
Arafat traveled to Damascus from Lebanon earlier yesterday in what was believed to be his first trip to Syria since the dissidents stepped up their mutiny May 28 by taking over guerrilla supply bases on Damascus' outskirts.
Meanwhile, an Abu Dhabi newspaper report cited by United Press International said that a team from Moscow was in Damascus trying to mediate the widening revolt against Arafat within his own Fatah faction of the PLO.
An official Palestinian source in Damascus told The Associated Press that the Soviets, in a letter to the PLO office in Moscow, "reiterated that they supported a unified PLO under the leadership of Chairman Arafat, who they said has become a symbol for resistance against plots not only designed to strike against Syria and the PLO, but also against the entire Arab nation."
The dissidents are pressing Arafat to wage armed struggle against Israel.