Abu Mazen poised to take up PNA post

Issue 

Abu Mazen poised to take up PNA post

By Karen Farrell

Declaration of Principles chief architect Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) will finally assume his role as head of the Palestinian Negotiations Supervisory Committee, according to an announcement by the PLO Executive Committee on March 18. The move was requested by committee members during meetings President Arafat held on March 17 and 18 in Tunis.

The Negotiations Supervisory Committee was slated to become publicly active in the fall of 1993, but never came to fruition due to internal disagreement about its organisation. During the interim, Arafat has undertaken supervising the negotiations himself.

The committee was appointed to oversee peace negotiations to ensure compliance with any agreements reached.

The committee's subsequent idleness was for the most part due to Abu Mazen's decision not to accept his appointment. At the time, he indicated concern that Arafat would exert too much power over committee affairs.

Numerous PNA [Palestinian National Authority] sources emphasised that Abu Mazen is merely assuming a position he had been appointed to more than a year ago, and that PNA minister of planning Nabeel Shaath will remain the chief negotiator.

Shaath himself was harshly criticised during the Tunis meetings for the way he is dealing with the Israelis. Shaath commented following these meetings that he will present a harder line to Israeli negotiators.

PLO officials in Tunis said Abu Mazen has not formally accepted this appointment. He remains hesitant about coming to Gaza because of lingering doubts that Arafat will give him decision-making power.

The decision to have Abu Mazen assume his duties coincided with a PLO Executive Committee policy announcement that the PLO would no longer accept Israel's strategy of procrastination during negotiations, especially on redeployment and elections.

Abu Mazen himself noted that the next round of negotiations will be intensive and will discuss all issues regarding the second phase of the interim period. He pointed out that holding elections is directly linked with the redeployment of the Israeli army out of West Bank population centres, which is now over a year overdue.
[From the Jerusalem Times.]

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.