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|Friday, August 11, 2000, updated at 09:45(GMT+8)|
Iranian President Meets Arafat, Pledging Support to PalestiniansIranian President Mohammad Khatami on Thursday voiced Tehran's support for Palestinian resistance against Israel and promised that Iran will do its best to help solve the Palestinian issue.
In a meeting with visiting Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Khatami said Jerusalem belongs to the whole Islamic world and that the Palestinian nation as representative of world Muslims should keep this holy city.
"We will take every possible action at our disposal to solve the issue of Palestine and Bait-ul-Moqaddas (Jerusalem), although it is not something that could be swallowed by the aggressor enemy," he was quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency as saying.
Khatami, the current chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), noted that the issue of Al-Qods (Jerusalem) is a serious matter for the Islamic world.
He said the whole Palestine (by which he was referring to the land that also includes Israel) should be liberated first and then it is for the Muslims, Christians and Jews to "freely" decide the fate of their own homeland.
He said the current Middle East peace talks would practically get nowhere, because a great number of Palestinians still live as refugees abroad and there are many other Palestinians living inside Palestine who are also ignored.
Referring to Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon in May after a 22-year occupation there, he said that the victory of Lebanese people and resistance proved that resistance and faith can break the myth of Israel's invincibility.
Arafat in the meeting called on Iran to continue its political support for the Palestinians, saying that Iran, as the OIC chairman, can show the world with its support that the Palestinians are not alone.
He also briefed Khatami on his talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at the Camp David summit sponsored by US President Bill Clinton, which ended on July 25.
Arafat has visited several European, Arab and Muslim countries since the US-sponsored summit failed to produce an Israeli-Palestinian agreement mainly due to their differences over the fate of Jerusalem.
Arafat arrived here Thursday morning and also held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi.
He said in his meeting with Kharrazi that Palestine and Jerusalem are exposed to the Israeli dangerous plots and the Israelis have hatched "dangerous schemes" to destroy the sacred places of Muslims.
He called for support from all Muslim countries to the Palestinian.
Kharrazi, for his part, said any desecration of Jerusalem will provoke the Muslim world.
Transfer of foreign embassies (to Israel) to Jerusalem and the Judaization of the Muslim site should be strongly condemned, he said.
Clinton has said that he would move the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem late this year. This announcement was decried by the Arab countries as the United Nations does not recognize Israel's claim that Jerusalem, including the Arab East Jerusalem which it seized in 1967 and later annexed, as its capital.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future independent state.
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