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U.S. 'alarmed' at Gaza divisions

Aug. 6, 2004 at 1:33 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage Friday told Arabic interviewers the United States is "alarmed" by the political situation in the Gaza Strip.

"Of course I'm alarmed. Aren't you alarmed?" he asked an interviewer from the Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper. "Everybody's alarmed."

The comments follow the recent resolution of a Palestinian power struggle in the Gaza Strip that led Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia to resign unless he was given more power. He rescinded the resignation when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat yielded some power.

Security in the Gaza Strip is also likely to be an issue following the planned Israeli withdrawal from the region.

Elliott Abrams, a top member of the National Security Council, is now in the region to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials on peace in the region.

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