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April 20, 2003

New Palestinian PM rows with Arafat over key job

The newly appointed Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, is reported to have threatened to resign after a row with the president, Yasser Arafat.

Palestinian officials say Mr Abbas walked out of talks after Mr Arafat blocked his choice for a key cabinet post.

Mahmoud Abbas wants to name a former Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan as Internal affairs minister.

Mr Dahlan is an advocate of reform but Yasser Arafat is strongly opposed to his appointment and is said to be insisting that the current holder of the post, a loyalist to the president, should keep the job.

Finding agreement on the matter is crucial.

The US says it will not unveil details of a new peace plan known as the roadmap, until the cabinet is named.

Details of the new cabinet are due to be put to the Palestinian parliament for approval later this week.