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Palestinians Promise January Vote on Arafat's Successor


Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia says elections for a new Palestinian president will be held by January 9, and he called upon the international community to help restart the Middle East peace process.

After visiting Yasser Arafat's Ramallah grave site Saturday, Mr. Qureia urged President Bush, the Israelis and the world not to miss this opportunity for peace. He said "now is the period in which we should be more serious."

Friday in Washington, President Bush and visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged their help for honest and open Palestinian elections.

Meanwhile, popular Palestinian figure Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison, is said to be considering running for president. Mr. Barghouti, secretary-general of the powerful Fatah faction, is seen by many as the inspiration behind the Palestinian uprising.

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