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Palestinian PM nominee is skilled negotiator

Qorei leaves Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah on Monday.
Qorei leaves Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah on Monday.

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CNN's Matthew Chance reports Palestinian PM nominee Ahmad Qorei indicates he wants to avoid the pitfalls that befell his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas (September 8)
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Ahmed Qorei has been a key player in nearly all peace negotiations involving the Palestinians and Israelis since the Madrid Conference in 1991.

The skilled politician and speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council has made guarantees of universal support the determining factor in whether he will accept the post.

"I'm looking -- from the Americans, from the Europeans, from the quartet -- for real practical support, not by words. I want to change the situation on the ground for the Palestinian people," Qorei said.

"I want to see that the Israelis will change the way of dealing with President [Yasser] Arafat, the elected president, because I cannot go without his support."

Qorei has a history of working with U.S. and Israeli leaders while pushing forward the peace process. He participated in discussions at Camp David in July 2000 and in talks in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001.

Qorei also was one of three Palestinian Liberation Organization leaders who met secretly with Israeli officials in Norway to work on the Oslo accords, which paved the way for the first interim peace deal between the two sides to be signed in 1993.

A biography posted on the Palestinian National Authority's Web site said Qorei, also known as Abu Ala, was born in Abu Dis near Jerusalem in 1937 and was an early member of Arafat's Fatah movement.

Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization approve of Qorei as the next prime minister, Palestinian sources said.

Qorei was named head of the PLO's executive committee's economic department in 1983.

He served the Palestinian Authority as minister of economy and trade and minister of industry between 1994 and 1996, when he was elected a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was elected speaker shortly afterward and has held that post ever since.

The legislative speaker is first in line to succeed the president, should something happen to Arafat. Under the Palestinian constitution, he takes over for 60 days if Arafat dies or is incapacitated while new elections are set up. The people then vote for a new leader.

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