- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Palestinian leader airs growing conflict

CAIRO — Ahmed Qureia, on his first trip abroad since he was named Palestinian prime minister, arrived here yesterday for talks with Egyptian leaders about the worsening conflict with Israel, a Palestinian official said.

Mr. Qureia must “consult with Egyptian leaders about the dangerous situation in the Palestinian territories,” the official said. The state-run Middle East News Agency said Mr. Qureia would meet today with Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher about “developments in the Palestinian territories in light of Israel’s military escalation, notably in the Gaza Strip.”

Mr. Qureia’s visit coincides with one expected today by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in the Egyptian Red Sea resort at Sharm el Sheik for talks with President Hosni Mubarak. It was not known whether the Palestinian prime minister also would travel to Sharm el Sheik.


Politician wants ‘traitors’ punished

JERUSALEM — Shaul Yahalom, who heads the radical National Religious Party (NRP), yesterday accused high-profile Israelis who drafted an unofficial peace plan with the Palestinians of treason and demanded that they be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

The symbolic Geneva peace plan was drawn up last week by Israeli leftists, including former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, and leading Palestinians, including former Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo. It is likely to be signed in Switzerland next month, possibly on Nov. 4, the eighth anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist.

Mr. Yahalom said the “Israelis behind this initiative have devised an agreement whose goal is, among other things, to deprive Israel of its sovereignty over the [Palestinian territories] and notably Jerusalem.”

Weekly notes …

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told Morocco it should accept by Jan. 1 a peace plan for the Western Sahara recommended by former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III. Mr. Annan, in a report Monday to the Security Council, said he and Mr. Baker had agreed to Morocco’s request to give it “more time to reflect and consult” and that he expects its answer by Jan. 1. … Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said yesterday opened the new term of the Majlis ash-Shura, sitting in the advisory council’s joint session with the upper house, and pledged to develop the democratic process in Oman. The majlis, a junior chamber elected Oct. 4, advises the government on economic and social issues but has no say in defense, internal security or foreign policy. Two women were returned to the 83-member body this month in the first ballot open to all citizens of the Gulf sultanate.

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