King Abdullah of Jordan (archive photo)
Photo: AP
Egypt, Jordan to convince Israel to accept Arab initiative
Saudi foreign minister says Arab counterparts asked Egypt, Jordan to contact Israeli government to try to persuade it to accept Arab peace plan; however, Arab League secretary general says larger delegation would negotiate 'only after Israel stops its practices in occupied territories'

The Arab League on Wednesday assigned Egypt and Jordan to convince Israel to accept a revived peace initiative which promises full relations in exchange for Arab land captured in 1967.


"Egypt and Jordan, the two Arab parties which retrieved their lands (from Israel), will undertake efforts to revive the Arab peace initiative and facilitate direct negotiations," said a league statement read out by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal.


The two countries, which have signed a peace deal with Israel, will seek to explain the 2002 Arab peace initiative to Israel's political parties, government, unions and intellectuals.


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday told the Israeli parliament that an Arab League delegation could soon visit Israel to discuss the initiative.


'Timetable for comprehensive solution needed'

But Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa said a larger Arab delegation - including

countries who did not sign a peace treaty with Israel - would only negotiate after certain conditions had been met.


"Once Israel stops its practices in the occupied territories, mainly lifting the sanctions on the Palestinian people, halting the building of settlements and the building of the wall ... then a larger working group will be formed to contact the Israeli government," he said, reading the statement.


"We reiterate our call to the government of Israel and all Israelis to accept the peace initiative and to seize the opportunity for a resumption of the process of direct and serious negotiations on all fronts," Saud said.


Foreign ministers from thirteen Arab countries met Wednesday at the Arab League to discuss how to reactivate their 2002 peace proposal, which Israel originally rejected out of hand, but has since expressed more interest in.


The Arab plan promises normalized relations in exchange for Arab land captured in 1967, the creation of a Palestinian state and the return of refugees.


Jordan's King Abdullah II on Wednesday called Olmert to stress the importance of keeping the peace process momentum going and drawing up a timetable for a comprehensive solution.


Abdullah stressed "the need to maintain the momentum (to relaunch) the peace process and agree on a precise timetable for concrete results based on the two state solution and the Arab peace initiative," the official Petra agency said.


פרסום ראשון: 04.18.07, 19:08
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