Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein MLA arrives in the West Bank to speak at PLO conference

Sinn Fein MLA Declan Kearney has arrived in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, located in the West Bank, to address a meeting of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

He will speak before the 23rd meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC), the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) which meets sporadically, and is responsible for electing the PLO's Executive Committee.

Ahead of the event, Mr Kearney said: "I will be addressing the Conference on behalf of Sinn Fein and will extend solidarity at this time when Israeli aggression continues to hamper a real peace and reconciliation process."

Sinn Fein was invited to the event by chair and speaker for the PNC Salim Al-Za'noon.

It is the first meeting of the Council in nine years, and it is expected discussions will focus on ending the recognition of Israel, and other key parts of Palestinian politics.

The PLO, considered to the representative body for Palestinian people, has recognised the right for Israel to exist in peace since 1993.

It is also expected a new 18-member Executive Committee for the PLO will be elected at the meeting.

Since the start of March there has been unrest at the Gaza border, with estimates of more than 10,000 regularly turning out in a protest calling for the 'right of return' for Palestinians who were displaced after the creation of the state of Israel.

Forty-one Palestinians have been killed in the protests since the start of March, with more than 5,000 wounded.

The conference will be attended by representatives from more than 80 countries.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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