"I have officially handed over the medical report to the Palestinian Authority," Nasir al-Qidwa told a press conference in Ram Allah on Saturday, adding that it shed no new light on how his uncle had died.

Arafat, long the public face of the Palestinian struggle for statehood, was declared dead in a French military hospital on 11 November.

France's strict medical secrecy laws mean that the exact cause of Arafat's death has not been made public, but his nephew received a copy of his medical file in November.

Fuelled by the ambiguity surrounding his death, many ordinary Palestinians are convinced that Arafat's death was far from natural.

'Issue not over'

Al-Qidwa told journalists that the 557-page report, complete with X-rays, would not put the matter to rest as French doctors only said they had discovered no "known" poisons.

Arafat's records will be further
examined, Rawhi Fattuh said

"That means there is no final result," he said. "I don't expect that we have the medical ability or political ability to find something new, but the file must remain open."

Rawhi Fattuh, Arafat's acting stand-in as Palestinian Authority president, said the records would be examined by Egyptian, Jordanian and Tunisian doctors before an official Palestinian report is published on the cause of death.

French doctors who treated Arafat at the Percy hospital outside Paris were quoted in Le Monde newspaper as saying he died of a blood-clotting disorder called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

However, the doctors said they had not detected the underlying cause of the condition, which could be a viral infection or a cancer. They had looked at the possibility of poison but ruled it out, they said.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya has established a special commission to investigate the exact cause of Arafat's death in a French military hospital in an effort to bring about some form of closure to the debate.

The Palestinian parliament passed a resolution on 24 November calling on the government to present its report on Arafat's death within a month.