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Annan welcomes Arafat's intention to appoint Prime Minister

Annan welcomes Arafat's intention to appoint Prime Minister

Kofi Annan with Yasser Arafat (file photo)
The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today welcomed the announcement by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat that he intends to appoint a Prime Minister and also that he fully embraces the so-called road map of the diplomatic Quartet.

A statement issued by a spokesman for Mr. Annan said the Secretary-General believed that these were two very important steps towards restarting the Middle East peace process.

"The Secretary-General looks forward to working with a credible and fully empowered Palestinian Prime Minister," spokesman Fred Eckhard said. "He believes it is now essential for the Palestinian Legislative Council to meet as soon as possible, so that Mr. Arafat can bring his nomination forward; and he urges both parties to do everything necessary for that to happen."

The Secretary-General also noted the importance of this move in advance of meetings in London next week between the parties and key members of the international community to discuss donor assistance and Palestinian reform, Mr. Eckhard added.

The envoys from the Quartet - which comprises the UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States - will also convene during this set of meetings.