Powell Leaves to Region on Sunday But Plans No Meeting With Arafat; Abed Rabbo Briefly Detained By Israeli Troops
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will leave on Sunday for a Middle East mission, State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said on Friday.
President Bush, who announced Powell's mission on Thursday, did not say where Powell would go but he is inclined to visit Israel, try to arrange a meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and see leaders of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.
"The secretary of state will depart for the region on Sunday April 7," Reeker told reporters, adding that he had no details of his itinerary in the Middle East.
Israel needs time to digest what Bush expects, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters traveling with Bush in Texas.
"But the president expects results and he expects them as soon as possible."
Secretary of State Colin Powell will leave for the region Sunday night and has no plans to meet with Yasser Arafat, Fleischer added.
In advance of Powell’s regional tour, U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni traveled to the West Bank town of Ramallah for a 90-minute meeting with Arafat at his battered, encircled compound.
Arafat adviser Nabil Abu Rdeneh said there would be more talks between Palestinian and U.S. officials later in the day, but Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat later said that Israel was preventing follow-up talks. Israel denied that.
Arafat told Zinni that the Palestinians support a cease-fire deal negotiated last year by CIA chief George Tenet, according to his deputy Mahmoud Abbas. Israel and the Palestinians have been at odds over the timetable for implementing the agreement.
Meanwhile on Friday, Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo was briefly detained by Israeli troops during a search of his home, the minister's wife said, according to AP. Abed Rabbo was held for about 30 minutes, but not taken from his home. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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