Palestinian President Yasser Arafat handed Tuesday powers to his Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei in order to carry out reforms, therefore ending a two weeks cabinet crisis.
Arafat and Qurei emerged from the Tuesday meeting holding hands, clasping, 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 Palestinian official source, the cabinet will enjoy full authority over internal security forces, while Arafat will retain control over the Palestinian intelligence service and armed forces.
Yet, 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.
Qurei Rescinds Resignation
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei rescinded his resignation after a Tuesday morning meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
‘The president (Arafat) has rejected my resignation and I will comply,’ Qurei told reporters at the end of the meeting.
Qurei Considering Rescinding Resignation
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat began Tuesday morning a meeting with the PA leadership, including Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.
Palestinian official sources described the meeting as crucial to efforts invested to end the political and security turmoil in the Palestinian territories.
Palestinian officials said Tuesday that Qurei is considering rescinding his resignation.
‘God Willing’ Qurei responded to whether he expected his meeting with Arafat to resolve the crisis. The Palestinian premier was leaving his office Tuesday morning for Arafat’s headquarters.
Arafat Promise Legislators to Speed up Reforms
Palestinian legislators said Monday after 3 hours meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat that he promised to take quick measures against corruption and speed up security reforms.
Palestinian Legislators expected Arafat and his Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei to resolve their differences in their Tuesday meeting.
‘(Arafat) agreed to speed up the reform drive to end the state of lawlessness in the Palestinian territories,’ legislator Hanan Ashrawi told reporters.
Ashrawi added that Arafat already demanded the Palestinian attorney general to begin legal procedures against any officials involved in corruption.
Another legislator told reporters that Arafat agreed to give his interior minister powers to fight corruption.
The legislators were part of a 14-member committee formed by the Palestinian parliament last week to speed up reform and enforce the rule of law.
On Sunday, Ashrawi blamed both Arafat and Qurei for the current PA crisis, warning that more unrest in Gaza is expected, calling the Palestinian president to end his ‘one-man-show’
From his side, Israeli Army Intelligence Chief accused Sunday Arafat with biding for time, hoping both U.S. President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will fall by November.
A state of chaos in which top PA officials and foreigners were abducted, PA offices were torched, and a Palestinian legislator were shot wounded, triggered a wave of protests calling for immediate reforms.
Qurei submitted his resignation and demanded more authority, especially over security apparatuses.
Arafat’s move to unify PA security in three only and appointing new security heads failed to end the crisis or convince his prime minister to withdraw his resignation.
On Saturday, Arafat told Arab diplomats that he accepted the Palestinian Legislative Council proposal to carry out changes in the cabinet.
Arafat informed Palestinian legislators earlier this week that he agreed to hand over more security authorities to the interior.
Palestinian sources reported Saturday that active talks on the details of power sharing between the cabinet and the Presidential establishment were on going, expecting an agreement to be reached on Tuesday.
Palestinian commentators expressed satisfaction over the PLC decisive move to assume responsibility, insist on enforcing law, end the sate of chaos, and press on long waited reforms.