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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Palestinian Crossroads: Prime Minister Appointment

Aired April 29, 2003 - 05:45   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: OK, we've dropped out of that break as -- because, as promised, Yasser Arafat is speaking so let's listen.
YASSER ARAFAT, PRESIDENT, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (through translator): On behalf of all Palestinian people, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who are steadfast and the land of steadfastness in the homeland and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the exile regions, and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your attendant -- for your attendance at this important session of the Palestinian Legislative Council to listen to the new cabinet program headed by my brother and my comrade, Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Mazen.

This cabinet, which has been formed after the PLC -- after the agreement of the PLC, to create or invent the position of prime minister in the Palestinian National Authority and after your council and your council had endorsed the constitutional modifications for this purpose in the basic law.

Today, our meeting is held while the Israeli government is escalating its aggression against our Palestinian people in several regions, challenging with this -- with this meeting -- this Palestinian meeting that is being held now. And you know what has happened yesterday morning, martyrs, people are being killed among us and people are being injured in all regions, especially in Bethlehem, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Hazar (ph), Jenin and Rafa (ph) and other -- many other areas, from Tucarium (ph) to Calcatia (ph) to Jenin to Nablus to Salfeed (ph) to Ramallah to Jericho -- to the Jericho (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the Jericho governory (ph).

So that side will not be angry, we have to say governory.

And Hebron, Bethlehem, Bajella (ph), Habbar (ph), Mitzahoon (ph), and the refugees camps there. The Gaza Strip, as well from Ruffa (ph) to Hanunis (ph), to Deribella (ph), to Gaza the city, to Bethahoon (ph), to Bethlahare (ph), they believe that -- when I say Gaza, I'm going to say Gaza the city and the Jabal (ph) refugee camp is part of it so -- but here we stay and you'll be facing them forever. And we will be steadfast here in this country.

Now (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from the Koran (UNINTELLIGIBLE) talking about patience and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to stay they believe (ph) from (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And despite that outlook (ph) we are all together. We meet together today.

Dear brothers and sisters, PLC members, we meet today in here with your (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to follow up our work -- to follow up our work and to continue our work with all -- with our determination and assistance. Now here at this place we will discuss the program of the new law (ph) cabinet and may God be with you.

We are working very and feeling the highest (ph) of measure of responsibility that you enjoy, especially at this very critical time of our struggle for ending the occupation and the Israeli settlement. And to steadfast against this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this military criminal escalation against our message (ph) and against our holy places and our blessed land. And we'll continue to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) achieve the goal of our people and freedom and independence and the establishment of our Palestinian -- defending our Palestinian state with its capital with the holy -- whole Jerusalem as its capital -- with the whole Jerusalem as its capital. And whether anyone likes it or not, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) whether anyone likes it or not, it doesn't matter, the state will be established and its capital will be whole Jerusalem.

Dear brother, PLC speaker, dear brothers and sisters, PLC members, our Palestinian people were looking forward, looking at you now and with confidence and with hope that your Palestinian -- your -- our PLC member -- elected PLC council will affirm to the whole world that a just peace and a real peace is the option of our people and is our way to freedom and to national independence. Our Palestinian people have sacrificed and is sacrificing for peace, for real peace, to achieve a real peace and security, a real security.

In order to establish the peace of the brave that we are designed (ph) with our late partner Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated by these extremist elements in Israel and to establish as peace in the whole region...

COSTELLO: All right, we're going to cut away from this. You've been hearing Yasser Arafat speak before the Palestinian Parliament votes on Abu Mazen who will be the new Palestinian Prime Minister. We're going to get much more from Israel a little later on DAYBREAK.

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