Arafat overhauls Palestinian cabinet

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 09:03:33 +0100

Arafat's new government will have fewer ministers 

A new Palestinian cabinet structure has been announced following
pressure at home and abroad for reform of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian
Authority (PA). 

The number of ministers is being cut by about a third from the current
32. 

It will be a smaller, more effective cabinet 

Palestinian minister Nabil Shaath 
A new post is being created, that of interior minister, and the man
filling it is expected to oversee a radical overhaul of the Palestinian
security forces. 

Mr Arafat has kept the interior portfolio for himself since the
Palestinian Authority (PA) was established eight years ago. 

Last month, he promised to call fresh elections soon and reform the PA,
which has been accused of corruption and mismanagement. 

He is also expected to announce a shake-up of the security forces in the
coming days. 

US and Israeli leaders have been urging Mr Arafat to reform the PA to
help stop suicide attacks in the 20-month Palestinian uprising, and pave
the way for peace talks to resume. 

Tackling terror 

Announcing the changes, Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo told a
news conference: "This transitional government will have the task of
preparing the municipal, legislative and presidential elections, slated
for the end of 2002 and the start of 2003." 

Minister Nabil Shaath said it would be "a smaller, more effective
cabinet". 

Some ministries are being merged while others become independent
agencies outside the cabinet, officials said. 

The man named as the new interior minister is Major General Abdel-Razzek
al-Yehiye. 

Sharon: Says Arafat's Authority is corrupt 

Correspondents say he will, in effect, be in charge of the security
forces. 

The US has been pressing strongly for reform of the complex security
apparatus. 

During the recent visit by US CIA chief George Tenet, the Palestinian
leader agreed sweeping reforms to provide a clear chain of command. 

A key focus of their talks was the failure of Palestinian forces to
prevent suicide attacks on Israelis. 

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said there can be no peace talks
with the Palestinians without fundamental reform of the PA. 

"There can be no peace with a corrupt terror regime which is rotten and
dictatorial," he told parliament. 

Source:  BBC

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