King Abdullah. Decisive point
Photo: AFP
Netanyahu. Unplesant encounter
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Obama. Will he let eberyone down?
Photo: Reuters
Jordan: Peace now or war next year
In interview to Times of London, King Abdullah says Prime Minister Netanyahu's meeting with US President Obama will determine region's future. He predicts that failure to resume peace talks would draw world into new Middle East conflict
Failure to resume peace negotiations will lead to another war in the Middle East next year, Jordan's King Abdullah says in an interview to the Times of London published Monday.


According to Abdullah, next week's meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama will determine the region's future.


"All eyes will be looking to Washington," he said. "If there are no clear signals and no clear directives to all of us, there will be a feeling that this is just another American government that is going to let us all down."


The Jordanian king warned that if the negotiation were to be delayed, this would mean another conflict between the Arabs or the Muslims and Israel "in the next 12-18 months".


"If the call is in May that this is not the right time or we are not interested, then the world is going to be sucked into another conflict in the Middle East," Abdullah warned.


In the interview, the Hashemite king did not hide his feelings towards the Israeli prime minister. He described his most recent encounter with Netanyahu a decade ago when he just ascended the throne as the "least pleasant" of his reign. However, both he and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are expected to meet with Netanyahu before he leaves to Washington.


'A 57-state solution'

Abdullah also said that he was ready to believe what he had heard from Israel, that the chances to advance peace with a right-wing government were higher than with a left-wing government.


"If there is procrastination by Israel on the two-state solution or there is no clear American vision for how this is going to play out in 2009, then all the tremendous credibility that Obama has worldwide and in this region will evaporate overnight if nothing comes out in May."


King Abdullah is expected to travel to Damascus on Monday in order to plead with Syrian President Bashar Assad to join Arab countries' efforts to reach an agreement with Israel, based on the 2002 Arab peace initiative.


According to the initiative, as part of a comprehensive peace agreement the 57 countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference will establish full relations with Israel. Israelis will be granted entry visas to all Arab countries, and El Al planes will be given the right to fly over Arab air space. In exchange, Israel will have to freeze the building of settlements and withdraw to the 1967 borders.


The king went on to say that Obama was committed to a two-state solution, which must be implemented now, and clarified that the Arabs were sick and tired of promises for a new peace process.


“What we are talking about is not Israelis and Palestinians sitting at the table, but Israelis sitting with Palestinians, Israelis sitting with Syrians, Israelis sitting with Lebanese,” Abdullah said.


It's not a two-state solution, he said, but a "57-state solution", whereby the Arab and entire Muslim world would recognize the Jewish state as part of the deal.


In a direct appeal to the Israeli public, Abdullah said that the Israelis had the choice between accepting the Arab peace initiative and signing a deal which would lead to peace, or sticking to their stance for 10 more years, which would be a disaster for everyone.


"I think we're going to have to do a lot of shuttle diplomacy, get people to a table in the next couple of months to get a solution," Abdullah said. The sad alternative, he added, would be war, death and destruction.


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