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Friday, February 13, 2004

PALESTINIANS AROUND THE WORLD


ABU ALA MEETS WITH POPE IN ROME
Pope John Paul met with Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Alla on Thursday. The Pope spoke out against Israel’s counter-terrorism barrier:
"No one must yield to the temptation of discouragement, let alone to hatred or retaliation. It is reconciliation that the Holy Land needs: forgiveness not revenge, bridges not walls”, the pope told the Palestinian Prime Minister.
Abu Ala is on a tour of Arab countries in Europe. Next on the agenda: London, Paris and Brussels.

According to Cleveland Jewish News (JTA), Abu Ala has denied reports that his family's cemet company is providing materials to build Israel's security barrier. A Palestinian Authority parliamentary committee is said to be investigating.
SEEKING YEN: PALESTINIAN FOREIGN AND FINANCE MINISTERS IN JAPAN
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, left, smiles as he shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at Koizumi's official residence in Tokyo Friday, Feb. 13, 2004. Shaath was in Tokyo for annual ministerial consultations to discuss matters including Japanese financial aid to the Palestinians. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, POOL)

The Japan Times says that Nabil Shaath, who is in Tokyo for talks with Japanese officials, said he appreciated Japan's financial contributions to the Palestinians over the years, but felt it was time for Tokyo to take a larger role in resolving the conflict... Shaath suggested that Japanese monitors could be posted in Palestinian territories as a means of contributing...

The Palestinians are also looking for more financial help from the Japanese. Japan has contributed $650 million to the Palestinians over the past decade, though annual donations have dropped in recent years, Shaath said.
SUHA ARAFAT -IN PARIS- SUBJECT TO PROBE OF BANK ACCOUNTS
Reuters: French prosecutors said Tuesday they had opened an inquiry into transfers totaling $11.5 million into bank accounts held in France by Suha Arafat, the wife of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat...

With her uncovered hair and expensive, Western-style clothes, she cut an unlikely figure during visits to Gaza. Her visits appear to have become rarer in recent years...