Arafat Says Barak Resignation will Put Peace Process on Hold
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's resignation will put the peace process on hold until after elections are held.
"No doubt that the resignation will mean peace negotiations will be put on hold until the end of the election," Arafat told journalists at his office in Gaza City on his return from Saudi Arabia.
"It is known that he is not committed and he is wasting time," Arafat added.
Prior to his departure from Riyadh where he held talks with Saudi officials on the Palestinians crisis, Arafat told reporters that Barak's decision to resign and stand for re-election was a consequence of the 10-week-old Palestinian uprising.
"This resignation is the result of pressure exerted by the Intifada (uprising) on the Israeli leadership," he said, quoted by the Palestinian representative to Saudi Arabia, Mustafa Sheikh Dib.
Dib also told AFP that Arafat, who was at the end of a visit to Riyadh, saw the resignation announced late Saturday as "an internal Israeli matter".
Arafat met King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz during his 24-hour visit to the oil-rich kingdom, which has been a main donor of aid to the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian leader sought Saudi support to press Washington for the sending of a protection force to the territories, according to Dib.
On Monday, the official news agency SPA reported that Saudi Arabia has granted 26 million dollars to the families of victims of the Intifada that has claimed more than 315 lives.
Since November, the kingdom has also granted the Palestinian Authority 30 million dollars and contributed 250 million to two solidarity funds for the Palestinians worth a total of one billion dollars - (AFP)
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