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April 09, 2003

Palestinian PM threatens to quit as Arafat resists change

Didn't take long for Arafat to busy himself with being The Man to mess things up. This article in the Pakistan paperDaily Times indicates that Arafat incapable of changing his ways
RAMALLAH: Facing an imminent deadline to form a new government, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas is meeting dogged resistance to change from his boss Yasser Arafat and has even threatened to quit in protest at the obstacles being presented, officials here said Tuesday.

Mr Abbas, also known by his nom de guerre Abu Mazen, was “astonished” by the corruption he uncovered in a fact-finding mission to Gaza after he was appointed on March 19, said one official who asked not to be named.

Mr Arafat tapped Mr Abbas amid huge domestic and international pressure on the veteran leader to share power and allow reforms of his heavily criticised regime.

But as Mr Abbas struggles to form a new government by the Thursday deadline, administration insiders have said he has gone as far as threatening to resign as Mr Arafat opposed the replacement of ministers he himself appointed. He also pushed for others who have in the past quarrelled with Mr Arafat.

Mr Abbas has spent much of his time so far in Gaza, which unlike the West Bank, has not been reoccupied by Israel and where the Palestinian Authority, set up under the 1993 Oslo accords and headed by Mr Arafat, still functions.

After intensive talks with various parties, Mr Abbas was “astonished by the degree of corruption” he found, especially in the security apparatus, one official said. The range of abuses by the security services ranged from protection rackets to major mismanagement.[more]