CNN: Arafat is Not Dead

Politics | November 9, 2004, Tuesday // 00:00

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, who visited the Paris hospital where his leader has been treated, told CNN that Yasser Arafat was still alive.

"His coma has deepened but he is fully alive," Shaath said. "His brain, heart and lungs, his vital organs still functioning."

A French official at the army medical service in Paris said that Arafat was "not dead" at 3:30 pm (4:30 pm Bulgarian local time). "The statement made public by General Christian Estripeau is still valid at 3:30 pm," he said.

Estripeau, the official spokesman of the Percy Military Hospital, said earlier on Tuesday that Arafat had slipped into a "deeper coma."

It remains unclear whether his medical condition or an intense public row with Arafat's wife, Suha, is preventing other visits with the gravely ill leader, who arrived in Paris for treatment October 29.

The delegation postponed a planned trip over the weekend after Suha Arafat, 41, in an emotional phone call to Al-Jazeera television network, accused the Palestinian leadership of conspiring against her husband.

Suha Arafat was not letting anyone see Arafat as of Tuesday morning, according to CNN sources. Under French law, Suha Arafat controls her husband's treatment and access to him.

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