Arafat Arrives in Spain to Discuss Middle East Violence
Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, arrived in Spain from Tunis on Friday for talks with Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, on Middle East peace after a week of Israeli-Palestinian clashes, reported Reuters.
Arafat is also due to address an international conference on Mediterranean security on Saturday, added the agency.
Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, greeted Arafat at a hotel in Formentor, in the north of the island of Mallorca, said AFP.
Spain, which is proud of its role in the landmark 1991 Middle East peace conference in Madrid, is seeking to play a more active role as a mediator in the current violence, said Reuters.
Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Pique, told reporters Aznar has been in regular contact with both Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in recent days, added the agency.
Pique said he himself had been discussing the issue with colleagues, holding three conversations with US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, on Thursday alone.
"We are facing a unique opportunity and it would be a shame to lose it," Pique told reporters shortly before Arafat's arrival.
Arafat arrived in Mallorca from Tunisia, where he held talks with Tunisian President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the TAP news agency reported.
In a statement released before his departure, Arafat said he regretted that talks held in Paris Wednesday with Barak and Albright had not yielded a concrete agreement on Middle East peace, without elaborating on why the talks had failed, according to the agency.
Arafat participated Friday with Ben Ali in a Tunisian rally of solidarity showing support for the Palestinian people - (Several Sources)
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