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Jagland issues an appeal for Arafat

Labor politician Torbjørn Jagland, leader of the foreign affairs committee, requests that Yasser Arafat receives medical treatment in freedom.

«If he dies in something close to imprisonment, I think the Palestinians will experience that as a huge humiliation,» Jagland said to TV 2 Nettavisen. «It would be a very reconciliating gesture if he could get medical treatment in freedom. It will create corresponding evil blood if this request is denied.»

Jagland has also previously asked the Israelis to end Arafat’s house arrest, and he said that the Palestinian president’s current health makes the issue even more pressing as Arafat’s state of health has declined greatly the last 24 hours. The 75-year-old president has lost consciousness several times.

However, Jagland received a message today that his meeting with Arafat on Monday has not been cancelled.

«I did not get any news of his state of health, but it was confirmed that the meeting in Ramallah is still on,» Jagland said.

Jagland travels to the Middle East Friday morning. He is meeting with both Palestinian and Israeli leaders, discussing the need for democratic elections for the presidency and the Palestinian national assembly.

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