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BEIRUT: Jordan has banned the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), arrested its leaders there and seized its offices, well-informed sources said here yesterday [Jan 7].

Jordanian authorities informed the PLO Director in Jordan Mr Abdul Karim Al-Alami two days ago that his offices in the Jerusalem suburb of Bait Haniana were being placed under seals, thus ending a two-year stay by the PLO Executive Committee.

At the same time, all further activity by the PLO, a self-declared enemy of Jordan’s King Hussein, was banned, the sources said.

PLO officials were given the choice of either immediately resigning or leaving Jordan.

The next day, Police arrested Mr Al-Alami, top aide in Jordan of PLO Chief Ahmad Shukairy, the sources said. Other leading officials of the organisation in Jordan were also held.

PLO offices in the City of Jerusalem itself were closed down some time ago.

The Government crack-down on the PLO brought no incidents in its wake and travellers reported complete calm in West Jordan. Violent rioting last November by refugees from what is now Israel posed the most serious threat to King Hussein’s rule since he ascended the throne in 1952.

Amman Radio yesterday broadcast comment by Premier Wasfi Al-Tal on the closing of the PLO branch office in Jerusalem. He said, it marked “a break with Mr Ahmad Shukairy and his gang” but not with the Palestinian organisation created by an Arab Summit conference.

“We are always ready to confer with this Palestine organisation but first it will have to rid itself of Mr Shukairy at the head of its affairs.” Mr Tal said. — Agencies

[Meanwhile, as reported by agencies in Cologne, Germany] Lord Chalfont, British Minister-in-charge of Disarmament Problems today [Jan 8] said negotiations on the non-proliferation of atomic weapons had now reached “a critical stage”.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2017