Arafat Due in Rome for Talks with Pope, Berlusconi
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is due in Rome late Monday to hold meetings with Pope John Paul II and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Palestinian representatives in Rome told AFP.
Arafat will have an audience with the pope on Tuesday at the Vatican ahead of a working lunch with Berlusconi.
Berlusconi earlier this month pledged that his country would lead efforts to build peace by contributing to a "Marshall Plan" of massive public investment in the region.
Arafat is due to leave Italy on Tuesday afternoon.
Italy's Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero called for a reduction in tensions during a four-nation tour of the Middle East last week.
Arafat met Sunday night in Gaza with Alfred Gunsenbaer, the chairman of the Austrian Social Party and his delegation, reported the official Palestinian news agency (WAFA).
Arafat reviewed with Gunsenbaer the “current dangerous escalation by the Israeli occupation army against the Palestinian people,” said WAFA.
Talking to the press after the meeting, President Arafat reiterated the full commitment of the Palestinian Authority to the peace process and to the declared ceasefire – Albawaba.com
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