Jordan Hits Back at Israeli President's Refusal to Meet King Abdullah
Jordan hit back Wednesday after Israel's President Moshe Katzav snubbed King Abdullah II by refusing to meet him except in Jerusalem.
Katsav could have met Abdullah in Tel Aviv on Tuesday if he wanted to because the monarch had no plans to visit Jerusalem, a cabinet minister said.
"The program of His Majesty's visit included stops in Ramallah (West Bank) and Tel Aviv only and no other arrangements were scheduled," Information Minister Taleb Rifai told official Petra news agency.
"His Majesty was not ready to go anywhere else and if the Israeli president wanted to meet His Majesty that would have been possible in Tel Aviv," Rifai was quoted as saying.
Abdullah had talks in Ramallah with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on Tuesday and then met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak Tel Aviv in a bid to advance peace talks, before returning home.
A statement by Katsav's office said the Israeli president refused to meet Abdullah in Tel Aviv, saying he would only welcome him in Jerusalem, which Israel considers as its undivided capital.
"The president would have been very happy to receive the king of Jordan in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, at his home, but he will not go to Tel Aviv," Arieh Shumer, director-general of the president's office, said Tuesday.
"The place for hosting presidents and heads of state is in Jerusalem. It is not right to go to meet another leader in Tel Aviv," he told AFP - AMMAN (AFP)
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