U.S. to Israel: Don't expel Arafat

Sept. 12, 2003 at 7:40 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Friday he opposes expelling Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

Powell also called Palestinian Minister Nabil Sha'ath to inform him the United States had made clear to Israel its opposition to expelling the Palestinian leader, Ha'aretz news agency reported.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice were in contact with Mideast officials in the region to keep the crisis from escalating.

McClellan warned expelling Arafat would "only serve to give him a broader stage," the report said.

Earlier Friday Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer that Israel's failure to exile Arafat earlier was a historic mistake. Mofaz said Israel views Arafat as an obstacle in any diplomatic process, Israel Radio reported.

Mofaz, meeting Kurtzer to discuss Israel's plan to "remove" Arafat, also said Israel remains committed to the 'road map for peace' and to the vision of President George Bush, according to the report.

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