Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad has been hospitalised after suffering "severe pains in the chest"
Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, pictured in early May, has been hospitalised after suffering "severe pains in the chest" during a private visit to the US, his office has said. The 59-year-old heavy smoker was in the US to attend a university graduation ceremony for his son in Austin, Texas. © Abbas Momani - AFP/File
Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad has been hospitalised after suffering
Last updated: October 19, 2011

Palestinian PM Fayyad hospitalised in US

Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad was recovering from a procedure in hospital Tuesday after suffering heart trouble during a private US visit, his office said.

Fayyad was taken to the Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas on Sunday after complaining of "severe pains in the chest," the premier's office in Ramallah said in a statement.

He underwent a cardiac catheterisation on Monday, which revealed that the "coronary artery was blocked," the statement said, adding that a procedure was performed with a stent to unblock it.

Fayyad "is doing well and should leave the hospital in the next two days," his office said.

The Seton Medical Center added that Fayyad was "in good condition."

A 59-year-old heavy smoker, Fayyad was in the United States to attend a university graduation ceremony for his son in Austin.

"He had been in the US since Friday for his son's graduation. It happened suddenly. But his condition is not serious, he's not in critical condition and should get better soon," Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the Palestinian government in Ramallah, told AFP.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a note to Fayyad wishing him a speedy recovery, his office said.

"The prime minister added that he hoped that Fayyad would feel better and return to us soon," it continued.

A former International Monetary Fund employee, Fayyad has been prime minister since June 2007, after the Islamist movement Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.

His position has looked uncertain since the signing last month of a reconciliation pact between the Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Hamas, which entails the creation of a transitional government with presidential and parliamentary elections within a year.

But Fayyad welcomed the accord as a "very happy moment," calling it "a first step."

"We've been waiting a long time for this to happen because the unity of the nation is one of the basic issues" to prepare for a Palestinian state, he added.

The economist has been unanimously praised in the West, and to a lesser degree in Israel, for cleaning up Palestinian finances and bringing a spectacular improvement to security in the West Bank.

Recently, he scored a success by getting western leaders to stop Israel blocking funds intended for the Palestinian Authority and frozen in retaliation for the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

His priority is to give birth to a viable Palestinian state "de facto and on the ground" in 2011.

"There is no other alternative than the path of freedom and the end of the occupation," he said in an earlier interview.

"It's a programme of construction and not of destruction. Build positively on the ground. Compare that with what Israel is doing."

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