U.S. Presses Mideast and Europe to Reduce Ties to Arafat

(New York Times) - The Bush administration, seeking to bolster a newly emerging team of Palestinian leaders, is pressing Arab and European nations to cut back diplomatic contacts with Yasser Arafat and divert the financing of Palestinian activities away from his control, officials in Washington said Friday. Mr. Powell's objective is to persuade Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to get the newly designated Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, to push Mr. Arafat aside and disarm Hamas and other militant groups in order to help a process that could lead to the creation of a Palestinian state. The U.S. has already told Israel it must ease the crackdown on Palestinian areas once Mr. Abbas takes office. Administration officials said Powell's Mideast trip could yet be put off or split into two trips, because of new concerns that Mr. Arafat was still trying to grab hold of power.

2003-04-28 00:00:00

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