PA Differences with Damascus Over Following Arafat’s Visit

Published June 13th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

By Nabil Al Mulhem 

Damascus -- 


Differences between the Palestinian authority and Syria have been considerably narrowed, almost over, said a PA official close to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. 

The source told that the brief meeting held between Arafat and Bashar Assad, expected to be the next president of Syria “was characterized by high courtesy.” 

Arafat was in Damascus for the funeral of Assad, who died Saturday, in his first visit in four years. He left later for Gaza. 

The Palestinian official, who asked for anonymity, said that Arafat praised the late president Hafez Assad, describing his departure as “very tragic for all of us.”  

“Arafat voiced his support for Bashar,” he added. 

According to a Palestinian official who accompanied Arafat, the Palestinian delegation that paid farewell to Assad “symbolized Palestinian unity.” 

The delegation comprised beside the president Naif Hawatmeh, secretary general of the Democratic Front of the Liberation of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, secretary of the Executive Committee of PLO, Khalid Fahoum, former speaker of the Palestinian National Council, and Farouq Qaddoumi head of the PLO Political Department. Hawatmeh, Fahoum and Qaddoumi oppose to Arafat’s peace agreements with Israel. 

Arab Israeli dignitaries also arrived here to attend the funeral including Knesset members Talab Sane’, Azmi Bishara, Ahmad Tieby, together with 14 other prominent 1948 Palestinians. Palestinian renowned poet Sameeh Qassem was among the mourners. 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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