Jordanian King Discusses Anti-Terrorism Coalition with Powell
Jordan's King Abdullah II met in Washington Thursday with US Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss a US-led anti-terrorism coalition that many Arab and Muslim countries have expressed reluctance about joining.
Powell and the king met for about 40 minutes at the State Department ahead of the monarch's meeting on Friday with President George W. Bush. Abdullah will be the first Arab head of state to visit the White House since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Powell escorted the king to his motorcade at the end of their talks but did not speak to reporters outside and no details of the meeting were immediately available.
Abdullah has strongly condemned the attacks and said "the struggle against the phenomenon of terrorism is an international responsibility which requires a coming together of all efforts."
But echoing the views of most Arab leaders he warned that eradicating the roots of terror must be linked to greater efforts, spearheaded by the United States, to resolve the 53-year-old Arab-Israeli conflict.
And, a Jordanian official accompanying the king said the campaign must not be allowed to become an anti-Muslim or anti-Arab struggle.
Jordanian Information Minister Saleh Kallab said Wednesday that the king would focus on Israel's "aggression" against the Palestinian people and the 11-year-old UN sanctions regime on Iraq.
At the same time he will tell Bush that Arab nations "reject a generalization of the problem and links" to Osama bin Laden, the United States' prime suspect in the terror attacks, Kallab said.
Arab leaders from Egypt to the Gulf have been increasingly reluctant to join the United States in waging war against bin Laden, who is being harbored by Afghanistan's Taliban regime.
The Arabs are enraged about the plight of the Palestinians and public opinion blames US policies in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian problem for provoking the September 11 attacks -- WASHINGTON (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)