U.S. Secretary of State Collin Powel said Tuesday that even as Palestinian President Yasser Arafat accepted to cede more authority to his Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, he still enjoy the upper hand over Palestinian security apparatuses.
"I heard that some changes occurred, but control over PA security remains in Arafat’s hands. I am looking more seriously to acts not declarations," Powell told reporters as he arrived at Cairo airport, at the start of an official visit to Egypt.
The power sharing agreement Arafat and Qurei reached over PA security will give the Prime Minister full control over police and internal security, while Arafat will be responsible for national security and intelligence.
"When we see that Qurei enjoys real power over security issues, when we see him taking practical steps to reform security and fight terror, we will be convinced," Powell added.
Powell will meet Egyptian President Husni Mubarak on Wednesday.
Arafat granted these powers to his Prime Minister on Tuesday so that he might begin to carry out reforms, therefore ending a two-week cabinet crisis.
Arafat and Qurei emerged from the Tuesday meeting holding hands and kissing each other on the cheeks.
"I’m not going to bargain with the president about authority over the security branches; we have enough powers over them as it stands," Qurei told reporters at the end of Tuesday meeting.
According to a Palestinian official source, the cabinet will enjoy full authority over police and internal security forces, while Arafat will retain control over the Palestinian intelligence service and armed forces.
Arafat gave more ground on issues related to corruption, and ordered the attorney-general to open investigations against tainted officials.
"This is a new step toward reform and imposing the rule of law. There will be actions on the ground,." Qurei said.
Qurei refused to detail the agreement reached, saying that Arafat would address the nation soon and explain the details of the agreement reached.