Former Palestinian PM and negotiator Ahmed Qurei dies aged 85

Qurei held many positions in the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Fatah movement

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Former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei, also known as Abu Al Alaa, died on Wednesday. He was 85.

Sources close to Mr Qurei's family said he recently suffered from infections that required hospital treatment. He received intravenous antibiotics, but his condition deteriorated overnight.

“With great sadness, we mourn the death of the national leader, Ahmed Qurei, ‘Abu Al Alaa’, who passed away. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. May his soul RIP,” Palestinian Authority official Hussein Al Sheikh said on Twitter.

Mr Qurei held positions in the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Fatah movement, serving on the PLO Executive Committee, and led the Palestinian Authority team that negotiated with Israel.

As a member of the Fatah Central Committee, Mr Qurei played an important role in the negotiations leading to the 1993 Oslo Accords.

From 1994 to 1996, he served as Minister of Economy and Trade and Minister of Industry in the first Palestinian government.

In 2000, he took part in negotiations at Camp David in the US with Ehud Barak, Israeli prime minister at the time.

Ahmed Qurei, bottom right, sits alongside senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and opposite Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, during peace talks in May 2008.

Mr Qurei served as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority for two terms between 2003 and 2006.

In 2010, Israel revoked his diplomatic privileges after he suggested the PA would have to use violence if the peace talks failed.

Israeli police arrested him in 2013 at the entrance to the Maaleh Adumim settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described Mr Qurei as a "great patriotic fighter" before a ceremony to honour him at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

"Abu Al Alaa spent his life as a solid fighter defending Palestine, its cause, its people and its independent national decision," Mr Abbas said.

Mr Qurei's body will be taken from Ramallah to his home village of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, where he will be laid to rest after the asr prayer.

Updated: February 23, 2023, 4:41 PM