Jordan's King says Turkish army should stay away from Iraq, urges PA, Israelis to return to negotiations
Soldiers from Turkey and other countries that border Iraq should not be allowed to take part in military operations inside Iraq, Jordan's King Abdullah II said in Singapore on Monday.
The Jordanian King said Iraq's neighbors were incapable of being "honest" if their military forces were sent in to help the U.S. conduct peacekeeping operations.
"I don't think that any country that borders Iraq should play an active role inside of Iraq because we all have our agendas," Abdullah told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum's East Asia summit.
"That means we can't really be transparent. And to have Turkish, Jordanian, Syrian, Saudi, Kuwaiti, Iranian troops inside of Iraq, I don't think is in the best interest of Iraqis."
The King added he was happy for Jordan and other countries in the Middle East to train Iraqi security forces.
"But to have us as neighbours inside of Iraq, I don't think we can be honest in our policies so I don't think you will see Jordanian peacekeepers in Iraq."
Abdullah said he did not advocate troops from neighboring countries entering Iraq even if the United Nations approved.
"Unless the Iraqis say at a later stage there are certain areas we would like Jordanian participation, I guess it could be questioned," AFP cited the King as saying.
"But I don't care if you are under the American umbrella or the UN, I still believe we can't be honest contributors simply because we all have certain desires on what we would like on the bilateral level with Iraq.
"It's a moral call."
The Jordanian monarch said it was imperative a strong Iraqi security force was developed, and recommitted Amman to training 30,000 prospective Iraqi police officers despite some opposition from Iraq's Interim Governing Council.
"I think we are doing the right thing by training these people and putting them back out," he said.
"It's the quickest way the Iraqis will be able to take over and be able to get on with their lives."
Abdullah said the recent suicide bombings in Iraq were the work of foreign elements, not Iraqis.
"I can't believe that if you are talking about the old regime, they would resort to suicide bombings," he said in reference to forces loyal to ousted leader Saddam Hussein.
"I think there's a foreign element in there. Arabs blowing Arabs up doesn't seem to be an Iraqi thing as far as I am concerned."
Meanwhile, on the Middle-East conflict, Abdullah called on Israel and the Palestinians to return to the so-called "Road-Map" for peace and said it was the only way for Palestinians to attain their own state and for Israel to achieve security.
"I say: Enough. And I am not alone. Palestinians, Israeli-Arabs and those who are not Arab, East and West – they are all aspiring to put an end to this devastating conflict", he said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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