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Photo: Reuters
Jordan's King Abdullah during Tuesday's speech
Photo: Reuters
US President George W. Bush
Photo: AFP
Abdullah: No peace deal at Jordan's expense
Ahead of meeting US President Bush Wednesday, Jordanian king calls for renewed efforts to revive peace talks, but says his country won't accept any settlement that causes influx of Palestinians

Jordan's King Abdullah II called for renewed efforts to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a speech Tuesday, a day before he meets the US President, but he warned Jordan would not accept a deal that causes an influx of Palestinians.

 

In a speech to open parliament, the king indicated that in his talks with President George W. Bush in Amman, he would underline the need for America to push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, describing their dispute as the "core" issue of the Middle East.

 

"Jordan will not accept an unjust settlement of the issue, nor will Jordan accept any settlement that comes at its expense," Abdullah told lawmakers, who applauded loudly.

 

The king did not elaborate, but he was referring to Jordanian fears of a settlement that would cause thousands of Palestinians to settle in the kingdom, upsetting the country's delicate demographic balance.

 

Roughly half of Jordan's 5.5 million population consists of Palestinian families who fled, or were driven out of, their homes in the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars.

 

"My government commits itself to offering all possible support to the Palestinians, so they can regain their rights and establish their independent state on Palestinian soil," the king said in a speech outlining his domestic and foreign policies.

 

He said the solution to the Palestinian conflict must be based on UN Security Council resolutions and existing peace agreements.

 

King's agenda

Bush arrives in Jordan on Wednesday for two days of talks with Abdullah and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. His talks are expected to focus on proposals to curb the sectarian strife in Iraq, which threatens to become a civil war.

 

But the king has a slightly different agenda. He wants the United States to apply an equal amount of diplomatic energy to reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been stalemated since 2000.

 

The king has repeatedly warned that the Palestinian conflict is fueling anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments among Muslims everywhere. It is also fueling Islamic militancy, such as that seen in Iraq, which lies across Jordan's eastern border.

 

The king is expected to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas either later Tuesday or early Wednesday, and is believed to be trying to arrange talks between Abbas and Bush - an effort that underscores his resolve to make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Abdullah warned Sunday that the Middle East was on the threshold of three civil wars.

 

"We could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands," He told the US Television program "This Week," Referring to the conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon and between the Palestinians and Israelis.

 


פרסום ראשון: 11.28.06, 13:57
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