MEPFAs expiration forces symbolic PLO suspension

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WASHINGTON — The State Department leveled a symbolic slap at the Palestinians this week when the expiration of a U.S. law forced the Palestine Liberation Organization to "suspend operations" at its Washington office.

However, U.S. aid to the Palestinians will continue and the office can stay open under a different name, officials said.

State Department officials plan to ask Congress to renew the measure, known as the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act, when lawmakers return from their August recess.

Key members of Congress have said they will prevent MEPFA from coming to a vote until the White House agrees that the Palestinians have complied with their accords with Israel.

For the first time since the Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn and MEPFA became law in 1993, President Clinton has determined that the Palestinian Authority is violating its accords with Israel.