Home>News Center>World

Arafat's wife lashes out at officials
Updated: 2004-11-08 15:08

Yasser Arafat's wife said her husband is "all right" and lashed out at his top lieutenants Monday, accusing them of traveling to Paris with plans to "bury" him "alive."

In a screaming telephone call from Arafat's hospital bedside, Suha Arafat told pan-Arab Al-Jazeera television that she was issuing "an appeal to the Palestinian people." She accused his top aides, who are traveling to Paris later Monday, of conspiring to usurp her husband's four-decade long role as Palestinian leader.

"Let it be known to the honest Palestinian people that a bunch of those who want to inherit are coming to Paris," she shouted in Arabic, in her first public comments since Arafat fell ill a month ago.

"You have to realize the size of the conspiracy. I tell you they are trying to bury Abu Ammar alive," she said, using Arafat's nom de guerre. He is all right and he is going home. God is great."

A producer from Al-Jazeera told The Associated Press the station was confident it was Suha Arafat on the phone. She first called the network's Ramallah office and then its headquarters in Qatar.

Despite her insistence that Arafat, 75, was fine, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier on Sunday called the Palestinian leader's condition "very complex, very serious and stable right now."

Palestinians have been making contingency plans for the event of his death, and Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath and Mahmoud Abbas, the former prime minister and deputy chairman of Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, were due in Paris on Monday to consult with his doctors and French officials.

Jamil Tarifi, the Palestinian minister of civil affairs, told Al- Jazeera the group was initially hesistant about going, but that the executive committee decided the trip would help "reassure" worried Palestinians. He did not comment on Suha Arafat's charges.

Some Palestinians have complained that Suha Arafat has gained too much power, as she controls the flow of information about Arafat's condition and has taken charge of access to the ailing leader.

"She is not part of the Palestinian leadership," Arafat security adviser Jibril Rajoub told Israel's Channel Two TV on Sunday.

Suha Arafat, 41, who lives in Paris, has not been to the West Bank or seen her husband since the latest round of Palestinian violence began in 2000. She rarely speaks to the media.

She also is widely believed to have control of vast amounts of PLO money.

Palestinian leaders are working to avoid chaos or violence in the event of Arafat's death. He has been ailing for nearly a month and doctors have described him in recent days as in critical but stable condition. They have not publicly release a diagnosis.

Early Sunday, one of Arafat's senior aides, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, categorically denied Arafat was in coma. But Shaath later told CNN that he was in a "reversible" coma. He denied reports that there was brain or liver damage.

Asked about reports of brain death, Barnier replied: "I wouldn't say that."

Arafat's death would open the potentially explosive issue of a burial site, and Palestinian officials have said Arafat wants to interred in Jerusalem. Israel has refused the request.

In Jerusalem, Israeli officials said on Sunday preparations were complete for Arafat to be buried in the Gaza Strip.

Also Sunday, the Palestinian National Security Council, temporarily headed by Qureia, approved his plan for internal security, according to Palestinian officials. No details were available.

Qureia has already assumed some of Arafat's financial and administrative powers.

Abbas, considered a more likely successor, has chaired a series of meetings of the PLO executive committee in Arafat's absence in an effort to project unity.

But neither politician has much grassroots support among Palestinians or important militant groups.

USS Park Royal crew await for Rice
Coffin of Milosevic flew to Belgrade
Kidnapping spree in Gaza Strip
  Today's Top News     Top World News

Australia, US, Japan praise China for Asia engagement



Banker: China doing its best on flexible yuan



Hopes high for oil pipeline deal



Possibilities of bird flu outbreaks reduced



Milosevic buried after emotional farewell



China considers trade contracts in India


  Journalist's alleged killers held in Iraq
  No poisons found in Milosevic's body
  US, Britain, France upbeat on Iran agreement
  Fatah officials call for Abbas to resign
  Sectarian violence increases in Iraq
  US support for troops in Iraq hits new low
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.