AMMAN - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat should yield more power to his prime minister to bolster the Palestinian position in the run-up to the US presidential election, Jordanian Prime Minister Faisal al-Fayez said.
Arafat "is the symbol of the Palestinian people but there must be wider powers in the hands of the prime minister (Ahmed Qorei)," Fayez said in statements carried by Jordanian newspapers.
This decentralisation was essential "because there are malfunctions in the Palestinian security system", Fayez was quoted as saying in an interview conducted late Sunday by the Dubai-based satellite channel Al-Arabiya.
Fayez said he did not expect any progress to be made in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in the run-up to the November US election.
"We don't expect any movement in the peace progress until after the US election. This will be a wait-and-see period, but it is important to rearrange the Palestinian house so that their position will be strong," he said.
Fayez sought to evade the issue when asked whether US President George W. Bush or Democrat challenger John Kerry would be better for the Palestinian quest of setting up an independent state alongside Israel.
"US policies towards the Middle East are known. The difference is in the tactics," he said.
Jordan's King Abdullah II caused a stir in August when he said in a television interview that the floundering Middle East peace roadmap was an opportunity Palestinians needed to seize to obtain their promised state.
A Tel Aviv University poll published in mid-August showed that a majority of Israeli Jews overwhelmingly want Bush to beat Kerry in the November 2 election.