Arafat Subdued During Visit to See Wife, New Baby in Paris

Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat traveled to Paris Wednesday to have his first look at his baby daughter.

Arafat, who turns 66 next Friday, did not sound like the usual happy father when asked by a crush of French reporters about the birth of his first child.

When one reporter asked him how his wife, Suha, was doing Arafat replied only, “The same.”

Suha Arafat, 32, gave birth to the 5.4-pound baby girl in the Paris suburb of Neuilly on Monday — the same day a terrorist bomb tore through a commuter bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan.

Newborn Zahwa Arafat was named after the PLO leader’s mother.

In a recent interview with the French daily Le Parisien, Suha Arafat said she was afraid to give birth in the Gaza Strip because of the “appalling” sanitary conditions there.

While in Paris, the PLO leader met with French President Jacques Chirac to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for extending self-rule in the West Bank.

“France plays an important role in support of the peace process, as does the European Union, and I had a long talk with President Chirac about this,” Arafat told reporters.

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