Syria Cancels Arafat Visit, PA Says ‘For Good’
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's landmark visit to Syria on Tuesday has been unilaterally "cancelled" by Syria and will no longer take place, a Palestinian official in Jordan told AFP.
"Abu Ammar (Arafat) was at the (Amman) airport and he was ready to fly to Damascus when we were informed of Syria's decision to postpone the visit," the official told the agency.
Arafat, surrounded by his close aides, was still waiting at the VIP lounge of Amman's Marka Airport to decide his next move.
"Now that Abu Ammar's trip to Damascus has been cancelled, they are discussing their next destination: either they will leave Amman for the Palestinian territories or they will head for another destination," the official said.
Earlier, a Syrian Information Ministry official in Damascus said that the visit "has been postponed," without the reasons nor a new date.
Arafat was originally due to visit Syria on September 12, but the mission was called off in the wake of the terror attacks in the United States the previous day.
Ties between the PA and Syria deteriorated after Arafat signed the Oslo accords with Israel in 1993, which were condemned by Damascus as depriving Palestinians of their basic rights.
He has been to Damascus twice since then. He paid his condolences on the death of President Hafez Assad's eldest son Basel in 1994, and then on the death of Assad himself in 2000 – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)