Jordanian King Deplores Lack of Arab Political Support for Arafat at Camp David
Jordanian King Abdullah II has deplored what he calls the lack of political support given by the Arab world to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat over the Camp David peace negotiations.
In an interview to be published Wednesday in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Qods Al-Arabi, the king also forecast a warming of relations between Syria and Israel that would lead to a peace treaty between them.
While saying he was "optimistic" that the Camp David talks between Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak could have the hoped-for results, the king expressed his "astonishment at the absence of Arab coordination" over the summit.
"The support of the diverse Arab parties" for Arafat in the current negotiations is "very necessary," he said, pointing out that Arafat had specifically asked him to intervene on his behalf with the Gulf Arab monarchies to "support his position in the negotiations."
Arafat should "not be left alone in these negotiations without Arab support," the king said. "I am not talking about financial support, but rather of the political support needed to serve Arab interests."
Turning to Syria, the monarch said that country's new president, Bashar al-Assad, is "anxious to establish good links with all his neighbors, notably Jordan."
He said Assad "aspires to good relations with the United States and Israel after the conclusion of a peace treaty" with the Jewish state, adding that Amman is "ready to give him every kind of help in that context."
He went on to say that Assad's desire for modernizing Syria "will be difficult to accomplish" without a peace treaty, which would open the door for important western aid to and investment in Syria.
He even predicted that Syria could reach a peace accord with Israel "one year after" an eventual Palestinian-Israeli deal.
He also said he expected that Assad will face "important difficulties" in launching a drive for modernization in a country that, for example, has 15 different intelligence services that are unaware of each other's work and which operate without coordination.
Yet he said he was confident Assad will succeed.
King Abdullah, who is to meet with Assad in Damascus Wednesday, said the "new Arab leadership, trained abroad, is giving "priority to the economy and not to politics," and that he believes Assad represents that tendency -- AMMAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)