Palestinian Official to US – for Medical Treatment

debkafile ‘s Washington sources, while confirming that Yasser Arafat’s deputy, Abu Mazen, will indeed meet US secretary of state Colin Powell in the US capital this week, stress that their meeting has no diplomatic agenda. They dismiss widespread reports that the Mitchell Commission’s findings or a White House invitation for Arafat are to be discussed. Washington officials, whom he will meet beforehand, know full well that their visitor has distanced himself openly from Arafat and his intifada and the two barely communicate. The purpose of his trip, according to debkafile‘s Palestinian sources, is prostate cancer treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
Saeb Arekat, who is closer to Arafat and the Israeli-Palestinian channel, will also be in Washington at the same time, for a Middle East seminar at an American institute. But he has no appointments with administration officials.
In any case, our Palestinian sources emphasize that the diplomatic channel is in a state of suspense in view of Arafat’s plan to deliver his most bellicose war speech in the eight-month uprising on Tuesday, Naqba Day, the Palestinian day of mourning marking the anniversary of Israel’s founding.
That speech will also overshadow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s visit to Egypt this week for talks with President Hosni Mubarak.

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