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Arab League Sokeswoman Ashrawi Quits

March 25, 2002

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JERUSALEM (AP) _ Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi has ended her work as spokeswoman for the Arab League after less than a year in the job, her office said Monday.

Ashrawi was abroad and not available for comment, but the outspoken and well-known Palestinian representative has been critical of the League since becoming its media policy coordinator last July.

Ashrawi’s deputy office manager, Rula Dajani, said Ashrawi had not formally resigned, but no longer had any duties in the Arab League. Ashrawi’s strategy for Arab media was completed and would be discussed at this week’s Arab League summit in Beirut, Lebanon, Dajani said.

Ashrawi is not attending the summit, Dajani said.

Ashrawi has spent little time in the League’s Cairo headquarters since her appointment and has said that the differing agendas of the member states’ information ministers made it difficult for the Arab League to speak with one voice.

``I prepared a unified information strategy and told them that when they’re ready to implement it they should let me know,″ she said in December.

Her appointment was meant to signal a change in the Arab League’s image as a stuffy, bureaucracy-laden institution. The choice of a Palestinian Christian woman as spokeswoman was also meant to debunk stereotypical views of Arabs.

It was not the first time Ashrawi has left a public position. She resigned her Cabinet post as minister of higher education in 1998 after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat failed to dismiss ministers who had been named in a report on corruption.

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