Pettigrew honours Arafat - again

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Posted by Al Gordon on 17:37:10 2005/02/11

The Canadian government did not deem the funeral of Ronald Reagan, the leader largely responsible for the fall of the Soviet Communist empire, an event worthy of any high-level government representation. Yet, not only did Pettigrew and Martin heap praise on Yasser Arafat after his death, Pettigrew personally represented Canada at his funeral.

Today, the Toronto Star reported that Pettigrew laid a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat on behalf of the Canadian government. Honouring a killer and a terrorist may have been dne on behalf of the Liberal government, but it it was done on on my behalf.


Feb. 11, 2005. 01:00 AM

Rein in militants, Pettigrew to urge
Taking message to Syria, Lebanon

Foreign minister vows to bolster truce


Ramallah, West Bank Canada will pitch in to reinforce a fragile Middle East truce by telling Syria and Lebanon they must discourage militants in their countries who seek to foment attacks in the West Bank and Gaza, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said yesterday.

In a news conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, Pettigrew also said he would explore whether Canada can provide anti-terrorism surveillance technology used on the U.S. border to speed the crossing of goods between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Earlier in the day, in a brief military ceremony at the Palestinian headquarters compound in Ramallah, Pettigrew laid a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat on behalf of the Canadian government.

Pettigrew, on a swing through the region, held talks yesterday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and Shaath, before meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Tel Aviv.

Both Israelis and Palestinians have expressed concern that Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia in Lebanon, is urging affiliates in the Palestinian territories to undermine the ceasefire declared by Abbas and Sharon on Tuesday at a summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

"I'm going to say to the Syrians and the Lebanese, if you really want to help the Palestinians, you must reinforce the credibility of President Abbas ... and discourage extremist groups who illegally utilize violence against the interests of the Palestinians," Pettigrew said.

`Hezbollah is pushing some parties ... to destroy the agreement that was declared at Sharm el-Sheikh.'

Senior Palestinian official

The foreign minister will meet Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud today and continues on to Syria for talks with Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa.

Without mentioning Hezbollah, Pettigrew said "extremists" want to derail the emerging d├ętente between Israel and the Palestinians. But some Palestinians, speaking on condition of anonymity, have singled out Hezbollah, blaming them for attacks in Gaza after the summit.

"We know that Hezbollah is pushing some parties among the Palestinians to destroy the agreement that was declared at Sharm el-Sheikh, and we know the orders which come from Hezbollah every day to persons here that you should continue and don't accept what happened," said a top Palestinian official.

Pettigrew was the first foreign dignitary to visit both Israeli and Palestinian leaders after the summit.

Canada is exploring ways in which it can enhance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but beyond a $100,000 grant to underwrite a seminar on Palestinian legal reform, discussions on other forms of aid are at a preliminary stage, officials said.

Joshua Mitnick is a freelance journalist based in Jerusalem
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