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Arafat arrives in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Palestine guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat arrived in Kuala Lumpur Monday amid tight security and officials said he was expected to request some form of aid for his group.

The chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, accompanied by a 15-member delegation, was met at Subang International Airport by Foreign Minister Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen.

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He was whisked away under tight security to a luxurious colonial mansion used as the government guest house.

Senior Foreign Ministry spokesman Mon Jamaluddin said the goodwill visit was consistent with Malaysia's role in promoting the Palestinian cause.

'Malaysia is a steadfast supporter of the PLO in South East Asia and the visit would be used to show them our support,' he said.

Mon said Arafat, who was invited by the king, was expected to ask for some form of assistance for the PLO, fighting for a separate state in Israel.

Details of the visit were closely guarded and the Foreign Ministry said Arafat's schedule would be publicly announced in stages for security reasons.

Arafat will be given an official welcome, reserved for visiting heads of state, followed by a palace audience with King Iskandar.

Malaysian officials said Arafat would meet Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for talks Tuesday on the Middle East, the Palestinian problem and furthering bilateral relations.

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The PLO chairman will also attend a state banquet in his honor, hosted by the king.

Arafat is expected to address a mass rally at Stadium Negara Tuesday to show Malaysian support for the PLO.

Malaysia, Laos and Vietnam are the only countries in the region that have given the PLO full diplomatic status.

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