Belgian FM ‘concerned’ over Sharon’s new party
5 January 2006
BRUSSELS — As Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fought for life in a Jerusalem hospital on Thursday, Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Karel De Gucht raised concerns about his new political party.
However, De Gucht also said the health concerns of Sharon will probably not influence what is already an “unstable” situation in the Middle East.
De Gucht said the region was already unstable due to the Israeli election campaign, but added that Sharon’s health concerns will certainly have a destablising impact on Israeli politics.
Sharon, 77, underwent seven hours of surgery on Thursday following a major stroke and is now in a critical but stable condition.
The director of Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem said doctors stopped the bleeding in Sharon’s brain, but will be kept “under heavy anaesthesia and ventilation” for the next 24 hours.
Deputy PM Ehud Olmert has become acting prime minister and elections scheduled for 28 March are to go ahead as planned.
However, it remains to be seen what will happen to the new Kadima party that Sharon founded. He was the party’s main voice.
“The question now is: how will the elections turn out? What will remain of the Kadima party, which revolved around Sharon?” De Gucht said.
The Belgian minister also questioned what the election result would mean for efforts to continue the peace process in the Mid-East.
Sharon had been planning to run for a third term in office under his newly-formed centrist party after quitting the ruling Likud party in November. Polls had suggested Sharon’s new party could win the March elections.
Meanwhile, De Gucht praised the Israeli leader for understanding in recent years that a solution was needed once and for all to the conflict in the Mid-East.
However, he also said the violence that took place in the Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Shatila while Sharon was Israeli defence minister in 1982 have stained Sharon’s reputation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news