British experts sent to Ramallah to discuss detention deal; prisoners to be moved to Jericho

Published April 29th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Britain Monday said it was sending a group of experts to Israel to oversee the detention of six Palestinians - part of a US - brokered deal to lift the siege of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's headquarters, AP reported.  

 

The six prisoners, including four assassins of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, will be moved from Arafat's besieged headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah to a prison in the town of Jericho, a 45-minute drive away, said Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo. 

 

"There is already a prison there (in Jericho), built by the British, and so it matches what the British are asking for," Abed Rabbo said. 

 

British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said the three-strong team would ensure that conditions were safe for the deployment of British and American personnel. "We wouldn't send people into this kind of situation if their own security was going to be significantly compromised," Straw told the British Broadcasting Corp..  

 

"There is an advance party of three people going out today to check on the facilities and the arrangements. Obviously, the individuals' own protection is a very important part of this, but we have got a group of people who've done this kind of work in the past and we believe that we can play an important part here," he added.  

 

"I welcome this significant first step away from violence and confrontation," Straw added. 

 

Under the deal, US and British guards will take charge of six wanted Palestinians inside Arafat's offices, where they fled for sanctuary from an Israeli invasion to hunt down Palestinian activists on March 29. (Albawaba.com) 

© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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