John Edwin Mroz, who in the 1980s met secretly with Yasser Arafat on behalf of the U.S. government to try to gain the PLO's recognition of Israel, died August 15 at age 66 in Manhattan, a media report says.
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Mroz was chief executive and a co-founder of the EastWest Institute, a research group focused on conflict resolution worldwide, The New York Times reported.
In 1981, the Times reported, he was director of the International Peace Academy, a United Nations affiliate that trains people in negotiation and peacekeeping.
In August 1981, he received a memo from the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which Arafat was chairman. The memo suggested the group might recognize Israel if the U.S. recognized the PLO, the Times reported.
Mroz contacted the State Department and Secretary of State Alexander Haig authorized him to meet with Arafat, who was based in Beirut, the paper reported. Over the next nine months, the two men met more than 50 times, the Times reported.
In May 1982, the PLO said it would decide on mutual recognition the following month, the Times reported. But in early June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon and expelled the PLO.
Haig's successor, George Shultz, authorized Mroz to resume the talks, but Arafat, having relocated the PLO to Tunis, refused to see him, the Times reported.