Peres Slams Sharon Veto on Meeting with Arafat
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres charged Sunday that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's opposition to a meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ran against US efforts to set up a united front against terrorism.
"I do not understand why Israel should say no [to a meeting] while the United States want to create a front which will include Muslims and Arabs and are asking Israel to deploy maximum efforts for a cease-fire," Peres told public radio.
"The Americans had great hopes for this meeting," said Peres, who was to have met with the Palestinian leader on Sunday.
On Saturday night, Peres failed to persuade the prime minister to let the meeting go ahead, when the two Israeli leaders held talks on the issue at Sharon's farm in southern Israel, television reported.
"I do not understand why Yasser Arafat has suddenly become an Osama bin Laden, while the prime minister had [originally] given me the green light to meet him," Peres told public radio.
In a phone conversation with US President George W. Bush last week, Sharon compared Arafat with bin Laden, the Saudi-born suspected terrorist mastermind who is the prime suspect in the airborne terror attacks that killed thousands in New York and Washington last Tuesday -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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