Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his efforts in trying to get him to attend the 13th Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Kuala Lumpur.
The message would be conveyed to Mahathir through Palestinian Foreign Minister and head of delegation to the summit Farouk Kaddumi, who will deliver it to Mahathir should Arafat fail to make it to Kuala Lumpur for the six-day gathering which started two days ago.
"I've also been asked to convey to Dr Mahathir his (Arafat's) best wishes and regards and gratitude for the support we've received from the government and the Malaysian people," he told Bernama upon arrival at the KL International Airport in Sepang last night for the ministerial meeting today.
Caught in cross fire
Arafat is caught in a cross fire of sorts as no one would guarantee his safe return to Palestine if he decides to come here, not even Malaysia.
However, Kaddumi said, the Palestinian leader was not giving up hope to attend the summit of the NAM leaders, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.
Meanwhile, most of NAM foreign ministers checked in last night. They included Singapore's S. Jayakumar, Fayza Aboul Naga (Egypt), Prince Mohamed Bolkiah (Brunei), Yashwant Singha (India), Dr Naji Sabri (Iraq) and Marwan Muasher of Jordan. The Foreign Minister of Timor Leste, Jose Ramos Horta, also arrived last night.
That country, along with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, is set to join NAM at the Kuala Lumpur summit, bringing its membership to 116.