Arafat closely guarded by three tall, strinking female minders, he had to smileThe whole Formentor peninsula, traffic and the Euro-Mediterranean forum were brought to a halt and Arafat's speech delayed yesterday morning because of a major security alert. Either a very keen hiker was up at dawn for a ramble over the mountains or a couple of tourists unaware of events at the Formentor hotel had left their vehicle unattended in an isolated spot, but whoever had a lot to answer for. The Guardia Civil, out in force on every corner from Inca to Formentor and the special security teams launched a massive operation to find the owners of the vehicle, it took the best part of an hour, during which no one in the area was allowed to move. Throughout the morning huge fleets of vehicles, led by the police and followed by an ambulance whisked VIPs back to Palma airport with everything in the convoys' way being cleared aside. The only vessel in the Bay of Formentor was a Guardia Civil patrol launch and all that moved in the water were the heads of police divers. Security was tight, hence the atmosphere at the forum was relaxed. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and his wife Ana Botella mingled freely with the media, Aznar even made a point of talking to the cleaners and posing for pictures with them. We had however been hoping for a picture session in the gardens with Peres and Arafat. But on Friday night, Mubarak descended the steps to the gardens, he nearly came a cropper and was only saved from tumbling in to the flower beds by his security team. First to rise yesterday morning was the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique, who went for a jog around the grounds and first to leave was Mubarak with a huge security convoy which guided the President to his private Airbus at Palma airport. Arafat left within minutes of his address and there was some concern about his mood as he did not say goodbye to the Spanish Prime Minister or any other guests. However, as he stepped into his limousine, closely guarded by three tall striking female bodyguards, he managed a wave and a broad smile. Peres stayed long enough to have lunch on the terrace.
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