CLAMART, France (AP) -Yasser Arafat’s wife lashed out at his top lieutenants Monday, accusing them of traveling to Paris with plans to “bury” her husband “alive.”

In a screaming telephone call from Arafat’s hospital bedside, Suha Arafat told pan-Arab Al-Jazeera television that she was issuing “an appeal to the Palestinian people.” She accused his top aides, who are traveling to Paris later Monday, of conspiring to usurp her husband’s four-decade long role as Palestinian leader.

“Let it be known to the honest Palestinian people that a bunch of those who want to take over are coming to Paris tomorrow,” she screamed in Arabic over the telephone.

“You have to realize the size of the conspiracy. I tell you they are trying to bury Abu Ammar alive,” she said, using his nom de guerre. He is all right and he is going home. God is great.”

An Al-Jazeera producer said the broadcaster was confident it was Suha Arafat on the telephone and that she had called their Ramallah office from Arafat’s bedside at a French military hospital.

Despite her insistence that Arafat, 75, was fine, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier on Sunday called the Palestinian leader’s condition “very complex, very serious and stable right now.”

Palestinians have been making contingency plans for the event of his death, and Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath and Mahmoud Abbas, the former prime minister and deputy chairman of Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization, were due in Paris on Monday to consult with his doctors and French officials.

Some Palestinians have complained that Suha Arafat has gained too much power, as she controls the flow of information about Arafat’s condition and has taken charge of access to the ailing leader.

“She is not part of the Palestinian leadership,” Arafat security adviser Jibril Rajoub told Israel’s Channel Two TV on Sunday.

Suha Arafat, 41, who lives in Paris, has not been to the West Bank or seen her husband since the latest round of Palestinian violence began in 2000.

She also is widely believed to have control of vast amounts of PLO money.

Palestinian leaders are working to avoid chaos or violence in the event of Arafat’s death. He has been ailing for nearly a month and doctors have described him in recent days as in critical but stable condition. They have not publicly release a diagnosis.

Early Sunday, one of Arafat’s senior aides, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, categorically denied Arafat was in coma. But Shaath later told CNN that he was in a “reversible” coma. He denied reports that there was brain or liver damage.

Asked about reports of brain death, Barnier replied: “I wouldn’t say that.”

Arafat’s death would open the potentially explosive issue of a burial site, and Palestinian officials have said Arafat wants to interred in Jerusalem. Israel has refused the request.

In Jerusalem, Israeli officials said on Sunday preparations were complete for Arafat to be buried in the Gaza Strip.

Also Sunday, the Palestinian National Security Council, temporarily headed by Qureia, approved his plan for internal security, according to Palestinian officials. No details were available.

Qureia has already assumed some of Arafat’s financial and administrative powers.

Abbas, considered a more likely successor, has chaired a series of meetings of the PLO executive committee in Arafat’s absence in an effort to project unity.

But neither politician has much grassroots support among Palestinians or important militant groups.


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