TITLE

Prime Time

AUTHOR(S)
Hammer, Joshua
PUB. DATE
April 2003
SOURCE
New Republic;4/14/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 14, p14
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
At the end of February, with war in Iraq looming, United Nations Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen paid a visit to Yasir Arafat in his shattered compound in Ramallah. For months, the Palestinian leader had believed the outbreak of war would work to his advantage, restoring him as a key player in peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But Roed-Larsen laid it on the line: According to diplomatic sources, he told Arafat that the Palestinian leader would be "finished" unless he immediately appointed a prime minister with substantial powers--a precondition set by Ariel Sharon and the White House for restarting the peace process. Then, in dozens of phone conversations and meetings in smoke-filled rooms in Ramallah over the next two weeks, reformers from the Fatah movement, a faction within the Palestinian Authority (PA), persuaded key Arafat loyalists to block Arafat's bid to retain de facto control of the PA. On March 18, the Palestinian Legislative Council rejected by an overwhelming majority Arafat's attempt to weaken the post, giving Abu Mazen total control over Cabinet appointments and other key responsibilities. The sidelining of Arafat and the ascension of Abu Mazen have both been hailed as a critical boost to the" road map," the Middle East peace plan drafted last year by the diplomatic quartet comprising the European Union, the UN, Russia, and the United States.
ACCESSION #
9454002

 

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