Former top official denies Swiss deal with PLO

The wreckage of the Würenlingen plane crash assembled in a Zurich hangar Keystone

Former Swiss secretary of state Franz Blankart has refuted allegations of the existence of a secret agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1970s to protect Switzerland from becoming a terror target. 

This content was published on February 6, 2016 - 11:02 and agencies

In a syndicated interview with the Tages-Anzeiger and Der Bund newspapers, Blankart who served as personal aide to Foreign Minister Pierre Graber at the time, called the charges a “fantasy”. 

“It cannot be that there was no written evidence for something so important,” he said. “And even if there were no records I would have been informed of such an agreement.” 

He also added that Foreign Minister Graber “would never have betrayed the cabinet” by keeping them in the dark about such a secret deal. 

The recently released Schweizer Terrorjahre (Swiss terror years) book by journalist Marcel Gyr accuses Graber of conducting a secret meeting with the PLO in 1970 in an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks. Switzerland felt the impact of several attacks, such as the bombing that caused a Swissair plane to crash in Würenlingen, shortly after take-off from Zürich, killing all 47 people on board. 

"I have found no evidence of this [deal] in the book," said Blankart. 

On Friday, former Swiss Attorney General Carla Del Ponte said that she was not convinced by the secret PLO deal theory. According to her, no proof of this was found during the investigation into the Würenlingen plane crash. 

An interdepartmental working group has been constituted by the cabinet to look into the relationship between Switzerland and PLO in the 1970s. It is due to report on the status of its finding by the end of April.

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