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Arafat Fires Key Palestinian Security Chiefs

Authorities say Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has fired two top security chiefs in what is seen as a major step towards reforming his security services.

Officials say Mr. Arafat dismissed Tuesday his West Bank Preventive Security Chief Jibril Rajoub and Gaza Strip Police Chief Ghazi Jibali.

Mr. Arafat is under Israeli and international pressure to reform the Palestinian security services.

The move came as envoys from the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations met in London to discuss U.S. proposals for Palestinian reforms and the future of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. U.S. officials say the diplomats discussed creating a steering committee to coordinate Palestinian reform efforts.

President Bush says the Palestinians need new leadership, but several of America's European allies have disagreed with Mr. Bush's implicit call for the ouster of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

British Foreign Office minister Mike O'Brien met with Mr. Arafat Tuesday in Ramallah. Palestinian officials say EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana also telephoned Mr. Arafat Tuesday to discuss the situation in the region.