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Envoy Says Arafat In Coma, Not Brain Dead

5 November 2004 -- There continues to be conflicting reports about the condition of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who is critically ill in a French hospital.

Leila Shahid, the Palestinian envoy to Paris, said today that Arafat is in a coma. But she denied reports the 75-year-old leader is brain dead and being kept alive on life support.

In the West Bank, Palestinian officials said some of Arafat's powers have been transferred to Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.

Palestinian officials and Israeli military officials were reported to have held separate meetings to discuss how to react if Arafat passes away.

Arafat has been receiving treatment at the military hospital outside Paris for the past week, but the exact cause of his illness has not been made clear.