Skip to comments.EU urges Israel to let Arafat contact his aides
Posted on 04/06/2002 6:23:21 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer
|EU urges Israel to let Arafat contact his aides|
BRUSSELS, April 6 (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana urged Israel on Saturday to allow besieged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat contact his aides, saying his isolation hampered future talks on a ceasefire. "I appeal to the Israeli government to allow immediately full contacts between the president of the Palestinian Authority and his closest aides," Solana said in a statement. He said that Arafat, who remains under siege in his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, "should not be isolated, especially at a time when all efforts are needed to achieve a ceasefire". Contacts with aides would allow Arafat to better prepare himself for any future talks with United States envoy to the region Anthony Zinni, who met the Palestinian leader on Friday, Solana's spokeswoman said. Solana made his statement because he was disappointed that the meeting had not led to giving some freedoms to Arafat, whom the EU considers "legitimate leader of the Palestinian people and interlocutor of the international community," Cristina Gallach told Reuters. She added she hoped that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell would decide to meet Arafat when he visit to the region next week. Earlier on Saturday, a Palestinian official said that without such a meeting other Palestinian officials would refuse to meet Powell. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon barred Solana and Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique on Thursday from meeting Arafat. Adding insult to injury, Israel announced as soon as they had left it would let Zinni visit Arafat. The European Commission insisted the EU did not feel humiliated by the rebuff, saying the envoys had taken "a calculated risk" in setting off on their ceasefire mission. ((Marcin Grajewski, Brussels newsroom, tel +322 287 6800, fax +322 230 5573, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org))
Get Arafat an Ouija Board pronto!