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|Ahmed Qurei (also Q'raia), known as Abu Ala, was born in Abu Dis, a suburb of Jerusalem in 1937 to a wealthy Palestinian family. Qurei joined the Fatah in 1968 and lived in exile in Beirut and Tunis with Yasser Arafat. He is an economic expert who masterminded Palestinian economic activities in Lebanon, and was appointed head of the Economic Department of the Executive Committee of the PLO in 1983. He supervised the preparation of the "Programme for Development of the Palestinian National Economy (1994-2000)", a central document in the PLO development strategy for the Palestinian territories.|
He participated in contacts with Israel during the Madrid Conference between the "external" PLO and was a member of the official Palestinian delegation. He also participated in or headed the Palestinian delegation to the secret negotiations which led to The Oslo Declaration of Principles. He headed the negotiations for the Paris Agreement on economic relations between the autonomous Palestinian territories and Israel in April 1994 and negotiated the The Oslo Interim Agreement in September 1995.
Qurei heads the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and
Reconstruction (PECDAR) since 1993, and was Minister of Economy and Trade and Minister of Industry in the
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) between 1994 and 1996. He was elected in January 1996 as a member of
the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). He was speaker of the PLC until his appointment as Prime Minister.
Ahmad Qurei was appointed as Prime Minister upon the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas in September 2003. He was nominated head of a new emergency cabinet of eight members by Yasser Arafat on the 5th of October 2003. Though Qurei benefits from the support of the US and the EU, he has not demonstrated much ability to overcome the security problems and restore order in the Palestinian Authority. During his administration, Palestinians began to complain openly about chaos in cities such as Nablus, and officials appointed by Arafat were kidnapped in Gaza. Qurei is considered pragmatic, but politically close to Yasser Arafat. He threatened to resign more than once when Arafat would not give him control over security and the powers needed to carry out reform, but he did not carry out his threats. If the question of succession of Yasser Arafat arises, he is “officially” (according to the Palestinian Authority’s draft Basic Law) the person designated to take over as President of the PNA. When Yasser Arafat became ill in October 2004, Qurei, along with Mahmoud Abbas, took control of the Palestinian Authority and PLO. Subsequently, Qurei and other Fatah officials were eclipsed by the election victory of the Hamas in 2006.
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