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Palestinian PM Withdraws Resignation at Arafat's Insistence - 2004-07-20


Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia has withdrawn his resignation, and agreed to stay on in his post at the urging of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. The decision appears to signal an easing of the political crisis within the Palestinian Authority.

Mr. Qureia said he would withdraw his resignation for the time being, after holding talks with Mr. Arafat at the Palestinian president's headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Officials said the Palestinian prime minister had reserved the right to re-submit his resignation if steps were not taken to reform the security forces and restore calm in the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Qureia announced on Saturday he wanted to quit because of the growing state of chaos in Gaza, and what he called the disorderly running of the Palestinian security forces. His announcement followed a series of kidnappings in the Gaza Strip and Mr. Arafat's appointment of his cousin, Musa, as head of security in the Gaza Strip.

The appointment sparked violent clashes between armed groups belonging to Mr. Arafat's Fatah faction and Palestinian police. Younger members of Fatah, in particular, saw Musa Arafat's appointment as another example of rampant corruption and political cronyism within the Palestinian Authority.

On Monday, Mr. Arafat bowed to pressure and fired his relative. He replaced him with former security chief Abdel Razek Majaidi, who had been dismissed only a week ago.

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