Jordan’s Prime Minister: No Jordanian Proposals on Jerusalem
By Mohammad Omar
Jordan’s Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb has brushed off reports that Jordan presented suggestions regarding the issue of Jerusalem during King Abdullah’s meetings last week with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Premier Ehud Barak.
“Jordan has repeatedly expressed its position concerning Jerusalem,” said Abu Ragheb, stressing that Jordan does not accept Israeli sovereignty over the Holy City.
Speaking at his first press conference since taking office in June, the Jordanian PM said that Jordan is not a direct party to the current negotiations, but it supports the stand of the Palestinians.
However, he added that Jordan has specific interests in the negotiations particularly regarding the refugee issue. He indicated that the Jordanian government had made some recommendations concerning the refugee issue and that they were presented to the Palestinian Authority, Israel, the United States and the United Nations.
He clarified that Jordan’s position is based on United Nations Resolution 194 and said that the country will protect the right of return and compensation of its citizens who are Palestinian refugees.
The Prime Minister stressed that Jordan has a central role in the peace process therefore it is “difficult to reach a solution at the kingdom’s expense.” He said Jordan is seeking to guarantee a just solution to the issue on two tracks,” the first is political and requires coordination with all sides particularly the Palestinian side, and the second is legal and calls for commitment to the United Nations resolutions”.
ARMS TO PERU SOLD LEGALLY
Abu Ragheb said the arms sold to Peru were legally delivered to Peruvian generals. "In 1998, 10,000 automatic rifles worth 500,000 dollars were sold legally (by Jordan to Peru). The arms were handed over at Amman airport to Peruvian generals, according to their identity documents," he said.
The Peruvian authorities "discovered later that some of these arms were delivered to Colombian rebels," Abu Ragheb explained, adding that Jordan was not sure about the details.
He added, however, that the Peruvian generals could have been involved in the smuggling operation.
Peru had accused Jordan of being implicated in a ring that smuggled Russian-made automatic rifles to Colombian communist rebels in 1999.
“The Peruvian authorities can say whatever they want, but Jordan is not involved at all,” said the premier, adding that Jordan has all the documents to prove it.
JORDAN’S RELATIONS WITH IRAQ
Jordan's prime minister told the press that Jordanian-Iraqi relations are improving, and there are regular official visits from both sides. But he denied press reports that he personally was planning to visit Baghdad.
In response to a question on whether Jordan would facilitate the newly-launched Moscow-Baghdad air route, he said Jordan is committed to UN resolutions.
He said the Jordanian government has asked the United Nations to facilitate flights to Iraq, but the UN responded by indicating it will deal with every issue separately.
“We informed the Iraqi officials of this decision and they voiced dissatisfaction,” he said.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)