Palestinian President Arrives in Tehran
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat arrived in Iran on Thursday as part of his whirlwind diplomatic tour to shore up support for his position following the collapse of the Camp David peace talks.
State radio cited Arafat as saying he would hold talks with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who currently heads the 56-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), but gave no further details.
Arafat is expected to ask for a special OIC session on the fate of Jerusalem, the most emotive issue standing in the way of a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel.
Arafat told reporters in Gaza City on Wednesday that he would ask for the meeting, as well as a session of the group's Jerusalem committee.
Arafat, who has been making an extensive tour of mainly Arab states to explain his stance at last month's failed Camp David summit with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, is due in Moscow later Thursday for a two-day stay.
Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and supports Hizbollah fighters whose fight against Israeli troops in south Lebanon helped end the Jewish state's 22-year occupation of the region in May.
The collapse of the Camp David talks over the future status of Jerusalem delighted Tehran, which called on the Palestinians to "draw a lesson from the failure."
The Palestinians want east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967, to be the capital of an independent Palestinian state. Khatami has repeatedly insisted that the holy city "belongs to the Palestinians and it is their right to decide its fate.” – TEHRAN (AFP)
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