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Arafat Lists New Cabinet Members

October 16, 2002

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JERUSALEM (AP) _ Yasser Arafat announced appointments to his new Cabinet at a meeting of his Fatah leadership Wednesday, deposing the interior minister he appointed in June to supervise Palestinian security services.

Arafat told the Fatah Central Committee that Abdel Razak Yehiyeh would not continue as interior minister. Instead, he will appoint his longtime supporter Hani el-Hassan, Palestinian officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Yehiyeh’s appointment had been seen as a step toward reforming the many overlapping and competing Palestinian security services. Until Yehiyeh’s took office, Arafat held the post himself.

Another new appointment, Finance Minister Salam Fayad, will remain in office, along with veterans Saeb Erekat and Nabil Shaath, the officials said. Fayad, an economist with broad international experience, is seen as a key figure in reform efforts.

The future of others, including Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, was not decided, Arafat told the meeting.

The Palestinian leader said he still needed a few days to finalize the Cabinet lineup, which would be presented to the Palestinian parliament for approval.

Arafat’s present Cabinet was forced to present its resignation on Sept. 11, when the parliament was poised to vote no confidence in Arafat’s government, reflecting widespread concern about corruption and inefficiency.

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