Abdullah: Inaction not an option
Photo: AFP

Jordan's king lauds US peace commitment

King Abdullah II tells economic forum that 'Arab peace initiative offers Israel place in neighborhood and acceptance by 57 nations, which is true security that barriers and armed forces cannot bring'

Jordan's king praised the renewed US commitment to achieving peace in the Middle East on Friday and urged Israel to work toward that goal.


King Abdullah II spoke a day after he pressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to immediately commit to the establishment of a Palestinian state, a step he has been reluctant to take despite pressure from the US.


The king said his visit to Washington late last month assured him that President Barack Obama is committed to pushing for peace between Israelis, Palestinians and the broader Arab world based on a two-state solution.


"I was encouraged that in all my conversations in Washington it was clear that people know inaction is not an option," Abdullah told the opening meeting of an international economic gathering in Jordan sponsored by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.


"The new American commitment has now opened an opportunity to change the direction of events," Abdullah told the business executives and government officials

gathered at the meeting, which is being held along the shores of the Dead Sea.


Abdullah stressed that the only way to achieve a Mideast settlement is through an Arab peace initiative that offers Israel relations with the 23 Arab League members in

exchange for its withdrawal to the 1967 borders, a just solution for Palestinian refugees and the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.


"The Arab peace initiative has offered Israel a place in the neighborhood and more –acceptance by 57 nations, the one-third of the UN Members that do not recognize Israel," Abdullah said. "This is true security – security that barriers and armed forces cannot bring."


The king warned that the "time to act is not indefinite. Every delay has brought more danger, not only for the parties but for the region and indeed the world."


Abdullah conveyed this same message to Netanyahu when they met in Amman on Thursday.


'Window of opportunity closing'

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he hopes Netanyahu will heed calls to endorse a two-state solution. "I hope the king's words will not fall on deaf ears,"

Erekat said.


Later, US Senator John Kerry told a panel discussion he believed the "window of opportunity for the two-state solution is closing".


"It's closing for a number of reasons - crushed aspirations, demographics, realities on the ground," said the Massachusetts Democrat, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Finding ways to restart Arab-Israeli peace talks and ease the impact of the global financial crisis on the Middle East are the central focus of the three-day World Economic Forum meeting being held in Jordan. The event has brought together more than 1,000 officials and executives from 79 countries.


Abdullah also referred to the Palestinian Nakba, or 'catastrophe', which marks the dispersal of the Palestinians from their land in 1948, as he stressed the importance of achieving Mideast peace.


"At family tables tonight, there will be elders who can tell of entire lifetimes of sorrow and loss, and newborns who may be the fourth generation ... born into conflict and an uncertain future," Abdullah said.


Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.15.09, 19:32
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