French FM says Israel will allow Arafat home

2nd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 31 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Sunday that Israel has indeed given its word that ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in hospital outside Paris, would be able to go home after treatment.

PARIS, Oct 31 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Sunday that Israel has indeed given its word that ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in hospital outside Paris, would be able to go home after treatment.

"I've heard the formal assurances given by the Israelis that Yasser Arafat will be able to return to Ramallah, and I think that is indeed the case," Barnier said in an interview with France Inter radio.

"I even hope that one day, as soon as possible, his freedom of movement will be reinstated, because the situation that has been imposed on him in Ramallah is disgraceful," the French foreign minister added.

Arafat, 75, was flown to Paris on Friday aboard a French government jet to receive treatment after collapsing in his West Bank headquarters, where he had been kept a virtual prisoner for the past three years by Israel.

The Palestinian leader was undergoing a battery of tests at the Percy military hospital in the south western Paris suburb of Clamart to determine the nature of what one of his doctors has called a life-threatening blood disorder.

On Saturday, Palestinian officials denied that Arafat was suffering from leukaemia. French and Palestinian officials said a diagnosis would not be known until Monday at the earliest, and more likely on Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has long sought to sideline Arafat, lifted the travel restrictions on the Palestinian Authority president and gave his word he would be able to return after being treated.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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