Fatah’s central committee members are expected to hold talks to finalise the appointment of Nasr Yusuf to the interior ministry post, reported our correspondent on Sunday.

A senior aide to Arafat said on Saturday that the Palestinian leader had resolved a dispute with his Prime Minister, Ahmad Quraya, who has agreed to stay at the helm of an emergency government which can sit in power for a month.

But Fatah sources said on Sunday that major disagreements remained between the pair over Yusuf, one of the central figures in the new line-up.

“Arafat does not want him and Quraya wants him,” said one Fatah central committee member.

Yusuf infuriated the Palestinian president by refusing to take the oath of office along with Quraya and six other ministers at a ceremony presided over by Arafat last Tuesday.

Row over emergency

Arafat declared Quraya the head of an emergency government a week ago in a decree which also ushered in emergency rule in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"The argument is still over Nasr Yusuf...Arafat does not want him and Quraya wants him"

Fatah central committee member

Yusuf is understood to want the new government to be formally approved by parliament.

Many deputies argue that while Arafat may have the right to declare emergency rule, there is no provision in the Palestinian constitution for him to appoint an emergency government.

A meeting of the Palestinian parliament in which Quraya was expected to unveil his government programme was postponed indefinitely last Thursday.

The row over Yusuf calls to mind the power struggle for the security apparatus between Arafat and Quraya’s predecessor, former premier Mahmud Abbas. It was at the centre of Abbas’ downfall early last month.