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ARAFAT REJECTS REGIONAL MIDDLE EAST PEACE CONFERENCE

Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat has rejected United States Secretary of State James Baker III's proposal for a regional Middle East peace conference. The PLO says the proposed regional conference, grouping the US, the Soviet Union, Arab states, and Israel, could normalize Israel's relations with Arab states and push the Palestinian issue into the background.

The PLO demands any Middle East peace conference be based on United Nations resolutions, which say that Israel must leave occupied Arab lands.

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Washington broke off a Middle East peace dialogue with the PLO last year in a dispute over terrorism.