Quartet tells Arafat: Reform or else

The quartet of Middle East mediators has told the Palestinian Authority to carry out long-delayed security reforms or risk losing international support and funding.

    Arafat confined to his compound by Israeli forces since late 2001

    A Western diplomat on Wednesday said the quartet envoys from the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union told Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya that the international community was "sick and tired of empty promises from Yasir Arafat and lack of action on security reforms".

       

    "If this (reforms) is not done, there will be no international support and no funding from the international community," he said.

       

    The envoys met Palestinian officials in the West Bank city of Ram Allah where Arafat, the Palestinian president, has been confined to his compound by Israeli forces since late 2001.

       

    "They stressed the need to carry out security reform, that this is the key to everything," said Palestinian cabinet minister Saib Uraiqat.

     

    "Everybody now is sick and tired of empty talk"

    unnamed diplomat

    Identical

       

    Western diplomats said the Quartet's security demands were identical to those presented by Egypt ahead of a planned Israeli pullout of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip next year.

       

    "Arafat must reduce his dozen or so security forces to three, change all corrupt security bosses, change the interior minister and empower the prime minister," one diplomat said.

       

    "Arafat has done nothing or very little (so far). Everybody now is sick and tired of empty talk and there is total disillusion with the Palestinian Authority," he added.

       

    Arafat has publicly accepted Egypt's terms, linked to its offer to send security advisers into Gaza to help stabilise it after Israelis depart, but has taken no action on the ground to reform his chaotic security apparatus.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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