RealNews

US for Abu Mazin as Palestinian leader

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Friday that senior Palestinian official Mahmud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazin, would be acceptable to the United States as a replacement for Yasser Arafat. In his policy statement on Iraq Wednesday, President Bush had hinted that Washington would like to see a new leader head the Palestinian Authority. Arafat is the current chairman but Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants him replaced by a more moderate Arab leader. Last month, Arafat said he was ready to appoint a prime minister, but no appointment has yet been announced, and the responsibilities of the new post have not been publicly defined. Armitage did not say whether the Israelis would also accept Abu Mazin, but Abu Mazib was a key figure in the Oslo negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians that led to the peace agreement. The Israelis regard him as a moderate member of the Palestinian leadership. He remains secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive council and one of Arafat’s close aides, but he is no longer active having distanced himself from the Palestinian leader in July last year when it became obvious that Arafat was no longer acceptable to Israel and the United States. Full Story

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