Palestinian political crisis: Arafat, Abu Mazen consider new compromise deal
Forming a new Palestinian cabinet is facing a “serious crisis” ahead of a Wednesday deadline, as no progress is being made in meetings held by a “mediation committee.”
Palestinian prime minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has reportedly threatened to quit and he has until Wednesday to form a new cabinet, after which President Yasser Arafat is obliged by law to ask a new premier to put together a government.
Sources close to Arafat said Monday that he has asked his advisors to come up with a substitute for Abu Mazen, however the source has ruled this out as a possibility. He said “Arafat would use time, which is on his side, as 48 hours still remain in the deadline.”
The source added that the, “leak [about a possible substitute to Abu Mazen] has been part of pressure Arafat is trying to impose on the prime-minister designate to have him compromise and drop Mohammad Dahlan’s name from the new cabinet…it is also an attempt on the part of Arafat to have Abu Mazen agree to keep Hani al Hasan (the current Minster of Interior) as the Minister of Interior in Abbas’s new government.”
If the crisis is not solved on Tuesday evening, President Arafat “has to look for an alternative,” Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ahmad Qurei (Abu Alaa’) was quoted as saying on Monday.
“There is a serious crisis and efforts are continuing to solve it, and if it is not solved today (Monday) it could exacerbate,” Qurei told Al-Quds daily on Monday.
Qurei denied that any progress has been made in the meetings arranged by the mediation committee, which comprises himself, PLO National Council Speaker Salim Al-Za’noun, minister of international cooperation Nabil Sha’ath, Fatah Central Committee member Intisar Al-Wazir (Umm Jihad) and the Presidential Secretary General Al-Taib Abdul-Rahim.
“Consultations continue and intensive efforts are still being exerted” to break the impasse, Qurei said.
Meanwhile, senior Palestinians involved in attempts to reach a deal have submitted a compromise deal to Abu Mazen and Arafat, sources said Monday. They added that the two men would consider the proposal.
The proposal would see 24 ministers serving under Abu Mazen - 14 of whom were members of the previous cabinet. The list does not include, however, Mohammed Dahlan, who is backed by Abu Mazen, but whom Arafat does not want in the new cabinet. (Albawaba.com)