Arafat 'stable in reversible coma'

8th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (AFP) - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's condition has stabilized and his coma is "reversible," Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath told CNN television Sunday.

WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (AFP) - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's condition has stabilized and his coma is "reversible," Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath told CNN television Sunday.

"The latest information ... is that his condition is stable. It's almost the same as it was three days ago," Shaath said.

"He is in a coma, but it is a reversible coma. All his vital functions are fine okay. There is no brain damage, no liver damage, no damage at all in his vital organs," he said.

Arafat is fighting for his life in a French hospital Sunday as his top lieutenants planned for a smooth transfer of power in the event of his death.

A spokesman for the medical service of the French army said that Arafat's condition remained unchanged in the military hospital on the south western outskirts of Paris where he has been in a coma since Wednesday.

"He was subjected to a lot of sedation in order to conduct investigations like colonoscopy and ... gastroscope and so on.

These require he be sedated. But it appears that he is still in that state of loss of full consciousness," Shaath said.

"But because the monitors show that everything else is fine, the doctors feel that it is reversible.

A French medical source said Thursday that Arafat, 75, was brain dead, a condition the Palestinians denied.

A spokesman for the medical service of the French army said Sunday that Arafat's condition had remained unchanged.

Meanwhile Israel, which has refused to sanction Arafat being laid to rest in Jerusalem, said it was making preparations for his burial in Gaza.

Three of Arafat's top lieutenants were due in Paris on Monday, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Sunday.

Barnier said Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qorei, acting Palestine Liberation Organisation chairman Mahmud Abbas and Shaath were expected in the French capital to visit Arafat.

The French foreign minister's statement was confirmed by Tayeb Abdelrahim, the head of Arafat's office, who added that the trio could meet with French President Jacques Chirac during their trip.

A member of the PLO executive committee said that Qorei and Abbas were making the trip as they were frustrated at the lack of information on the state of Arafat's health.

Only Arafat's wife Suha, his nephew Nasser Al-Qidwa and the Palestinian envoy to France Leila Shahid have been allowed to visit him to date.

Meanwhile Israel, which has refused to sanction Arafat being laid to rest in Jerusalem, said it was making preparations for his burial in Gaza.

With Arafat hovering between life and death in France, Qorei and Abbas grabbed the initiative at a series of top-level meetings in his now vacant shell-battered West Bank headquarters by drawing up plans for a new era.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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