Abbas threatens to quit again

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas is threatening to step down unless he receives more authority.

    PM has Washington's support

    Abbas, locked in a power struggle with Palestinian President Yasir Arafat, will tell parliament he may quit during Thursday's session, said Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Amr.

    "Abbas will reiterate that the cabinet must be fully empowered, as the basic law states, especially in the security and administrative fields," said Amr on Wednesday.

    "He will clearly ask for backing of his policies based on the principle of one authority, respect for the rule of law and rejection of illegal weapons," he said.

    Abbas will address parliament to report on his performance, four months after Arafat appointed him under international pressure.

    Arafat and Abbas are engaged in a power struggle over Palestinian security services. Arafat recently appointed his former rival and head of preventive security in the occupied West Bank, Jibril Rajub, as head of national security services.

    Strongman Rajub is perceived to be an opponent of Abbas.  

    "Road map" confusion

    Arafat points to US inaction and
    Israeli violence for plan's failure

    In a sign of growing internal conflicts, a senior adviser to Arafat said Palestinians were still committed to the US-backed "road map", despite the veteran leader's calls, earlier, that the plan is dead. 

    The adviser, Nabil Abu Rudaina, said they still supported the plan aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and urged all sides to implement it.

    Yasir Arafat had said the plan was dead because of Israeli aggression.

    "The road map is dead, but only because of Israeli military aggression in recent weeks," he said on Tuesday in an interview with CNN in the West Bank town of Ram Allah. 

    Arafat said the United States had let the plan die. He blamed US preoccupation with Iraq and upcoming presidential elections for preventing implementation of the “road map”.

    Arafat also said a reported split between him and Abbas had been exaggerated.

    The Palestinian leader has been effectively confined to his headquarters in Ram Allah by the Israeli army for the past 20 months.

    Stalled plan

    The so-called "road map" was drafted by United States, United Nations, European Union and Russian officials.

    The first stage of the plan called on the Palestinian side to end all violence unconditionally and implement administrative reforms.


    It also charged Israel with normalising Palestinians’ lives, improving their humanitarian situation, freezing all settlement activity and withdrawing from areas occupied since September 2000.

    The second and third stages foresaw the establishment of a provisional Palestinian state, and international talks to settle finally the issues of borders, Jerusalem, refugees and settlements.

    But the blueprint has failed to move beyond the first stage.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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