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Arafat Accuses U.S. Of Backing Sharon's Plan

President Arafat Accuses US Administration Applauding Sharon's Plan, No Date Set for Qurei'-Sharon Meeting

GAZA -- The Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said that the American stance regarding the backing away of criticizing the disengagement plan “sketched out by the Israeli premier Ariel Sharon is evidently proved that Sharon has polarized the plan in association with the US administration.

President Arafat said, in a press briefing in his Ramallah office, “They acknowledged today that Sharon's speech was premeditated with the US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. He (Sharon) has already got the American administration consent,” President Arafat remarked.

On his turn, Nabil Abu Rudeinah, key advisor of President Arafat told reporters that the American stance gave Sharon the green light to repudiate from implementing the "Road Map" peace plan formed by the United States and the quartet committee.

Abu Rudeinah made clear that the solution is no thing but that Washington oblige Tel Aviv to set in motion the internationally-backed peace plan because Sharon's disengagement plan exempted him of implementing the “Road Map”.

The Palestinian chief negotiator, Dr. Sa’b Erakat, told reporters that the Palestinian National Authority formally demanded Saturday the United States to elaborate its stance over the disengagement plan with the Palestinians that was sketched out by the Israeli premier Sharon and implementing measures unilaterally.

Dr. Erakat vehemently rebuked the Israeli plan, viewing Sharon’s remarks as blowing off entirely the peace process and the irrelevancy of the peace partner.

In an interview by Al Jazeera TV, Erakat called upon the United State to put further pressure on Sharon to remove the Jewish settlement outposts and live up with the "Road Map" peace plan.

He added that shortly after the Israeli premier declared his “disengagement plan”, Washington backed away of its criticism of the plan. The amended American “very pleased” stance is truly contrary to reservation stated by Mr. McClellan, spokesman of the White House, who said that any deviation the Israeli side makes from the US-backed "Road Map" peace plan would be opposed by the US administration.

Sharon gave the outlines of his plans in a long-waited speech Thursday in the Israeli city of Herzliya after days of hinting at his new unilateral approach. He added that the plan includes redeployment of the Israeli forces along a "security line" in the Palestinian territories, and evacuation of isolated settlements that Sharon said would in any case not be included in Israeli territory in any future settlement. At the same time, Israel will strengthen its control over "those parts of the Land of Israel that will be an inseparable part of the state of Israel in any future settlement."

Qurei’- Sharon meeting

The Chief Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Sa'eb Erekat said Saturday that no date has been set to a meeting between Dov Weisglass, bureau chief of Sharon's office, and Hassen Abu Libda, bureau chief of the Palestinian Prime Minister's cabinet.

He said that the preparations for the meeting have not been finalized yet and no date had been set for Qurei’-Sharon long–awaited meeting.

Egypt’s FM Visit

On the other hand, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Egypt Ahmed Maher is due to arrive in Israel on Monday to meet with his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom and an anticipated meeting with Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.

Commenting on Sharon's plan of unilateral disengagement, Maher said on Saturday “no need for unilateral measures by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon if Sharon would truly live up with the Road Map and is intended to halt violence and Jewish settlement, seizure of lands, removal of the unauthorized outposts and Israeli troop withdrawal from the Palestinian territories.”


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