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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 05:45 GMT 06:45 UK
Washington cuts ties with Arafat
Colin Powell meets Yasser Arafat, 17 April, 2002
Powell said Arafat's leadership was "flawed"
Washington is no longer dealing with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and has no plans to do so at present, according to the US secretary of state.


Chairman Arafat was not doing enough to end the terror

Colin Powell
Speaking on American television on Sunday, Colin Powell said Mr Arafat did not provide the kind of leadership necessary to move forward.

Mr Powell's comments came after controversial calls by President George W Bush last week for the Palestinian people to replace their leadership.

In continuing violence in the West Bank, Israeli troops killed a leader of the militant Islamic group Hamas in a raid on a house in Nablus.

Israel said Muhanad al-Taher, 26, was one of the organisation's top bomb-makers and was responsible for the deaths of more than 100 Israelis in suicide attacks.

Hamas vowed to avenge Mr al-Taher's death, saying the "assassination will increase Hamas' determination to continue jihad and resistance".

'Flawed'

In the interview with Fox News, Mr Powell said US officials were currently talking to a variety of Palestinian leaders.

Colin Powell
The US is talking to other Palestinian leaders, Powell says

But, he said, there had been no conversations with Mr Arafat since President Bush's speech on Middle East policy last Monday.

Asked if he thought there would be any in the future, the secretary of state replied: "I don't expect so because his leadership is flawed."

He accused the Palestinian leader of not providing the kind of leadership necessary to move forward.

"Leadership comes with responsibility, and responsibility is to lead your people in new, positive direction... Chairman Arafat has not done that," Mr Powell said.

'Palestinian reservations'

Mr Powell said he had talked to the Palestinian leader two months ago about the necessity to move in a new direction in order for the US to be able to help him.

Advice, Mr Powell said, the Palestinian leader had not heeded.

"Quite the contrary. Every time we got something going, the terror came back.

"And Chairman Arafat was not doing enough to end the terror, either through the power of his voice, his position within the Palestinian community, or the use of the institutions that were available to him."

Mr Powell said some Palestinian leaders were coming forward and expressing reservations about the kind of leadership they had received in recent years.

A Palestinian Authority official, Ahmed Abdul Rahman, urged all Palestinians not to meet Mr Powell or any Israeli officials as long as the Palestinian people were, as he put it, under siege.

Mr Arafat, who has announced elections for January, says it is impossible to carry out the reforms demanded by the US with the Israeli military occupying Palestinian-administered territories.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports from Ramallah
"They [the Palestinians] will rally round their leader when he comes under pressure"
Palestinian Minister of Labour Ghassan Khatib
"This is unfortunate and this is not constructive at all"

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30 Jun 02 | Middle East
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