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Arafat adviser: Mitchell resigned over deputy's 'bias'

May 17, 2011 12:17 P.M. (Updated: May 18, 2011 1:45 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A political adviser to the late president Yasser Arafat issued a statement Tuesday, alleging that US Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell resigned because of the "extreme bias" of his deputy Dennis Ross.

Bassam Abu Shareef said Ross obstructed all US initiatives aiming to achieve progress in the peace process, and blamed the deputy's bias for Mitchell's resignation Saturday.

Abu Shareef said senior American officials informed him that Mitchell viewed the appointment of Ross a step to obstruct the peace process. He added that Mitchell believed Ross was working against US interests.

The official paraphrased comments he said were made by Mitchell during a meeting, where he asked: "How can Dennis Ross assist in the peace process when he refuses to meet with the Palestinians, when he despises their leadership and hates their president?"

Abu Shareef also said Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "rejects peace," and would have no part of a Palestinian state with Hamas in its leadership.

"This means they are opening war on Palestinians and their nation," he added.

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