By Wafa Amr, July 7, 2004.
The quartet of Middle East mediators are “sick and tired” of Palestinians failing
to carry out reforms and told them on Wednesday to act soon or risk losing
international support and aid, diplomats said.
Sapped by years of corruption and disorder as well as Israeli raids, Arafat’s
Palestinian Authority needs foreign help to fill a power vacuum when Israel
quits the Gaza Strip next year or if it hopes to revive peace talks with the
But envoys from the United States, United Nations and European Union and
Russia told Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie that the world had run out
of patience with Arafat’s “empty promises” of reform.
“If security reforms are not done, there will be no (more) international
support and no funding from the international community,” a senior diplomat
close to the talks in the West Bank city of Ramallah told Reuters.
In a statement, the quartet said action was crucial to salvage a moribund “road
map” peace plan for a Palestinian state on land captured by Israel in a 1967
war and to “seize the opportunity represented by Israel’s Gaza withdrawal.”
The demand for reforms echoed a similar call from Egypt, which is ready to help
ensure security in Gaza if Arafat consolidates a dozen security forces to three
and gives greater authority to the prime minister.
Egypt gave him until the end of August to make changes. But despite Arafat’s
promises, there is scant sign of action.
“Arafat has done nothing or very little … There is total disillusion with
the Palestinian Authority,” the diplomat said.