World Bulletin / News Desk
Three French judges are preparing to travel to Ramallah to seek the exhumation Yasser Arafat's body as part of an investigation into whether he was murdered by poison, a judicial source told Reuters on Wednesday.
The investigating magistrates will need approval from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already expressed his government's willingness to exhume the body from a limestone sepulchre in Ramallah.
Arafat's widow, Suha, said in a statement sent to Reuters that the judges told her lawyer they had begun the necessary steps to travel to Ramallah, where police experts would carry out tests under their authority.
"I respectfully ask the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League to suspend all initiatives while the French justice system is looking into the case, other than to act together with them," Suha Arafat wrote.
The French murder investigation should take precedence over all other procedures, because it is the "incontestable guarantee of independence and neutrality", she added.
The court launched the murder inquiry last month into the 2004 death of Arafat in a Paris military hospital after his widow said he may have been poisoned.
No autopsy was carried out after Arafat died, aged 75, a month after being flown to France, seriously ill, from his Israel-besieged headquarters in Ramallah.
At that time, French doctors said they could not establish a cause of death.
Suha Arafat's allegations of poisoning followed a Swiss institute's discovery of high levels of the radioactive element polonium-210 on Arafat's clothing.
The Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne said last week it was willing to help conduct a scientific investigation into whether Arafat was poisoned, but that time was of the essence in order to detect traces of the radioactive substance.
56-year-old Turkish national arrested over suspected financing of terror group
At the end of a 10-day mission to Mozambique, IMF officials expressed dissatisfaction with continuing uncertainty about debts built up by state-owned companies from loans by foreign banks including Credit Suisse.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague on Tuesday ordered Moscow to pay damages over the incident, which saw 30 activists and journalists detained in an armed raid by Russian security officials after a protest against oil drilling.
Michel Barnier said after talks with his counterpart David Davis that the two sides were still at odds over Britain's divorce bill and over the rights of European citizens living in Britain.
Mustafa Akinci uses anniversary of 1974 Turkish intervention to lay blame for talks failure at Greek Cypriot door
The lower house of parliament, which is controlled by the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party in power, voted 235 to 192 -- with 23 abstentions -- in favour of the law giving the justice minister power to select candidates for the court.
Kremlin spokesman says there was no undisclosed second meeting between Russian, American heads in Hamburg
The two sides remain far apart on the exit bill that the EU says Britain must pay and on whether or not the bloc's top court will keep jurisdiction over European citizens living in Britain, sources close to the talks said.
UN peacekeeping force in DRC says reduction is part of new military strategy
Turkish diplomatic sources say UK set to lift prohibition on carrying large electronic devices on flights
Paul Manafort, Trump Jr. to testify in session addressing a US law overseeing foreign agents; Kushner to testify separately
Ibrahimjon Asparov accused of supplying weapons, ammunition to main suspect in deadly Reina nightclub attack New Year’s Eve
Patient simulator, computer with drug recognition program, vital symptom monitor among items donated
Al-Shabaab suspects thought to be planning new attacks after Kenyan president ordered police to shoot militants on sight