Jordan: We will not renew annexes to peace deal with Israel
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi says the country neither received an official request from Israeli government to renegotiate parts of peace treaty, which allowed Israel to lease Jordanian territories for the past 25 years, nor would it consider such a request if it was submitted.
In an interview with a local television channel, the minister added that even if Israel was to submit a request, Jordan is determined to pull out of annexes from the 1994 agreement, and the areas of the Island of Peace in Naharayim and the Tzofar enclave in the Arava—which Israel has been leasing for the past 25 years, will be under Jordanian sovereignty in one year’s time.
Jordan's King Abdullah, who has been facing pressure for some time to cancel the agreement with Israel, announced the decision to reclaim the territories on Sunday.
"We are practicing our full sovereignty on our land," Abdullah said. "Our priority in these regional circumstances is to protect our interests and do whatever is required for Jordan and the Jordanians."
In response to Jordan leader’s announcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country will renegotiate two annexes to its peace treaty in an effort to maintain control over the areas.
Israeli farmers have cultivated the land for many years, but the terms of the agreement state that 25 years after the initial signing, each party will be able to discontinue the lease of the land on one condition—it should be done one year in advance, and this Sunday marked 24 years since the treaty was signed.
"Jordan has reserved the option to reclaim the area in Naharayim near the Jordan River and the Tzofar enclave in the Arava. We were told today that it seeks to exercise this option in the 25th year," the prime minister said. "We will go into negotiations with them on the option of extending the existing agreement."
Nevertheless, Netanyahu stressed, "There's no doubt that in a general outlook, the entire treaty is a valuable asset, important to both countries."
The peace treaty with Jordan, alongside the one signed by Prime Minister Menachem Begin with Egypt, "are main anchors of regional stability," the prime minister added.