Carter in Ramallah
Photo: AP
Carter: Arafat fought for just causes
Former US president visits Ramallah gravesite of deceased Palestinian leader, embraces senior Hamas official. Israel dodging implementation of Annapolis agreements, he says

Yasser Arafat fought for the advancement of the Palestinians and other just causes in the world, former US president Jimmy Carter said after laying a wreath Tuesday on the grave of the deceased Palestinian Authority chairman in Ramallah.


Carter was greeted at the gravesite by Abed Elrahim, general secretary of the Palestinian presidency, who said the Palestinians hope to transfer Arafat's bones to Jerusalem.


The former American president, who is on a week-long tour of the region, also met with Nasr a-Din Shaar, Hamas' deputy prime minister and education minister in Ismail Haniyeh's government. The two embraced and kissed each other warmly.


Carter, wife Rosalynn lay wreath on Arafat's grave (Photo: AP)


During a visit to the Muqata'a compound in the West Bank city, Carter said Israel was dodging the implementation of the agreements reached during last year's Annapolis peace conference and criticized the Jewish state for not taking the negotiations seriously enough.


Prior to his meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Carter told reporters Israel refused to grant him permission to travel to the "besieged" Gaza Strip, adding that he was determined to meet with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus despite Israeli and American objections.


During his visit to Sderot on Monday the former US president said the rocket fire directed at the southern Israeli city was a crime and that he would work to secure a ceasefire.


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