Central European leaders send condolences to Palestinians

Yasser Arafat, photo: CTK

Central European states sent condolences to Palestinians on the death this week of their long time leader, Yasser Arafat.

Yasser Arafat, photo: CTK
Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski sent a message of condolence to the interim head of the Palestinian Authority. He said he hoped the death of Yasser Arafat would serve as a point of reflection enabling a continuation of the Middle East peace process. Kwasniewski said "I want to pay tribute to him and I want to be close to Palestinians all over the world in their grief."

Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic said Palestinians have lost a significant leader and personality who devoted all his life to fighting for the identity of the Palestinian nation and for independence. Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda sent Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei a letter of condolence in which he wrote "the death of this significant leader of the Palestinian people means a huge loss for the Palestinians".

The funeral of Yasser Arafat, photo: CTK
Hungary's Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said Arafat was an "eminent personality of 20th century Middle East history" who fought for the cause of the Palestinian people throughout his life. Hungarian Foreign Minister Ferenc Somogyi attended the funeral in Cairo.

The Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda also flew to Cairo for the funeral of the Palestinian leader. After the death was announced on Thursday, Mr Svoboda said that Yasser Arafat had played a big role in the history of Palestine and will be greatly missed by the Palestinian people. Slovakia and Slovenia also sent their Foreign Ministers to the funeral while vice chancellor Hubert Gorbach represented Austria.