Powell Asks Arafat To Curb Fighting

WASHINGTON?With the Islamic militant group Hamas threatening to unleash “all-out war,” Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned Yasser Arafat Wednesday to urge him to curb attacks on Israel.

The fighting has sidetracked mediation efforts by Anthony Zinni, a former Marine general who has made two unsuccessful attempts to restore a cease-fire.

Zinni remains on hold in Washington, and State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said there is no change in his situation.

“We haven’t seen the sustained and full action that we believe is necessary,” Boucher said of Arafat. “We continue to believe he can do more to stop the violence.”

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, meanwhile, affirmed that the United States will remain deeply involved in events in the Middle East.

“The events in the Middle East are unique. They are not like any events anywhere else in the world,” Fleischer said.