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Palestinians pledge security plan for Gaza

Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Wednesday, May 26, 2004

RAMALLAH The Palestinian Authority has pledged to submit a plan for the stabilization of the Gaza Strip in wake of any Israeli withdrawal.

PA officials said chairman Yasser Arafat relayed such a pledge to Egyptian intelligence chief Oman Suleiman during their meeting on Monday.

They said Arafat promised to submit a PA security plan to Egypt next week. The PA has been urged by Egypt, Israel and the United States to draft a security plan that would ensure stability in the Gaza Strip in wake of any Israeli withdrawal. Several Arab and Western countries have offered to finance the PA effort as well as train and equip security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"What I know is that there are Egyptian preparations to help us to train our security forces," PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said after a Cabinet meeting on Monday.

The PA plan would include Egyptian training, equipping and direction of PA security forces. The officials said the effort would be monitored by Israel and the United States.

Officials said Suleiman has demanded that Arafat relay a significant amount of authority to his security chiefs. They said Arafat has agreed to this in principle in exchange for an Israeli commitment to grant him freedom of movement. Arafat has been confined to Ramallah for more than two years.

Israel has also been discussing a PA security effort with Mohammed Dahlan, a former PA security minister and security chief in the Gaza Strip. Dahlan has been contacted by several Israeli officials, including the Defense Ministry's Amos Gilad.

On May 27, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to submit to the Cabinet his latest plan for unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Sharon was said to have pressed several leading Likud ministers, including Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to support the plan for a staged withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.


Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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