Powell Starts Regional Tour in Morocco; Report: Morocco Possible Asylum to Arafat
Some 350,000 Moroccans participated Sunday in a march of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The demonstration, held at the call of the Moroccan Association of Support to the Struggle of the Palestinian People. This demonstration came one day ahead of U.S Secretary of State’s arrival to the kingdom.
At his first stop in Morocco, Colin Powell planned meetings Monday with King Mohammed VI and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. He then heads to Egypt to see President Hosni Mubarak, and to Spain for talks with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and European leaders.
Powell was scheduled to meet Monday with Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Saudi Arabia's Abdullah, who has a palace near the city of Casablanca and is currently in Morocco.
Meanwhile, according to a report in the London Sunday Telegraph, Powell had arranged for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to be granted asylum in Morocco if he left the territories.
The Telegraph reported that Colin Powell was visiting Morocco on his current diplomatic tour in order to discuss plans for Arafat’s possible exile.
According to the paper, Washington is said to have suggested "that Arafat should move to Morocco unless he can prove his ability to halt Palestinian violence and cooperate in progress towards peace talks."
Both the Moroccans and the Israelis are reported to have balked, however, at Arafat's demand for an entourage of 70 Palestinian officials to be guaranteed safe passage with him, including some who are on Israel's wanted list of “terrorists”, the report added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)