After earlier chaotic scenes of anguished grief a sombre calm hung over Yasser Arafat’s burial site during the night in the West Bank city of Ramallah. But tears were still being quietly shed at the graveside of the Palestinian President who died Thursday.
Among the world diplomats paying their respects was Javier Solana the EU’s foreign policy chief. He had talks with Palestinian leaders now sharing the burden of Arafat’s presidential responsibilities. “The sentiment we have is the sentiment of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The most important thing that we can ask is to make the dream become a reality and the fundamental dream is to have a state, and for that we have to work with the Palestinian people to make it a reality,” he said. The EU is to have talks with with Israeli and Palestinian representatives later this month to discuss the the Middle East peace process in the aftermath of Arafat’s death. The US has announced Secretary of State Colin Powell will undertake a similar mission. The question of Arafat’s long term successor is no nearer being answered but the interim leadership has confirmed presidential elections will be held within 60 days in accordance with Palestinian law.