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Meeting UN envoy, Arafat pledges to step up reform of Palestinian Authority

Meeting UN envoy, Arafat pledges to step up reform of Palestinian Authority

Yasser Arafat, the President of the Palestinian Authority, today pledged to step up reform of that institution during a meeting with the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

Following his meeting with the Palestinian leader, UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen told reporters that Mr. Arafat had agreed to accelerate reform of the Palestinian Authority along the lines recommended by the United States Council on Foreign Relations in a report that was issued in August 1999.

Mr. Larsen also said that Mr. Arafat had invited the special envoys of the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East - the UN, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States - to meet with him this Thursday to discuss reform, and specifically implementation of the report, which contains recommendations on ways to strengthen Palestinian institutions.

A UN spokesman in New York explained that efforts to use the report's proposals had been suspended because of recent turmoil.

“The Palestinian Authority began to work with the UN, the World Bank and others to implement these recommendations,” Fred Eckhard told the press at UN Headquarters. “Then the political situation turned bad, the violence increased, and work on implementing this report stopped, so today, Terje Roed-Larsen spoke to Yasser Arafat about reviving the report.”