King Abdullah, Peres meet; King: Arabs have little trust in U.S.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met Tuesday evening with Jordanian king Abdullah in Aspen, Colorado where an economic conference was being held. Peres' office said that during the hour-long meeting, the two reviewed means of improving the relations between the two states and how to advance joint economic and agricultural projects meant to provide jobs for the Israeli and Jordanian residents.
Additionally, Peres briefed the Jordanian monarch on details of his most recent contacts with Palestinian officials, and informed him of the various ways Israel was easing the suffering of the Palestinian population, "We are just fighting Palestinian terror, "and not the Palestinian nation," the foreign minister said. Peres added that he saw Jordan as an important factor in promoting peace in the region.
Abdullah, who will arrive Thursday in Washington, said Tuesday that the Arabs hold misgivings about the way the Bush administration is approaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, doubting that Washington will pressure Israel into giving up the West Bank, Gaza and part of Jerusalem.
"This is all the more reason for the U.S. to show its commitment to fairness and freedom and lead the way to peace," the king said in his speech at Aspen. He also urged President Bush to speed up his three-year timetable for turning over Israeli-held land to the Palestinians for a state. "We need to expedite this target date so that the Israeli occupation can end sooner," Abdullah said.
The Jordanian leader stated the essential U.S. role in resolving the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is universally recognized. "Yet," he said, "I must tell you that Arab trust of U.S. influence remains rather low." "This is all the more reason for the U.S. to show its commitment to fairness and freedom and lead the way to peace," Abdullah said.
Also, he said, Israel and the Palestinians will have to compromise on "age-old dreams" to reach a settlement. "Salvation will not come from outside," he said. "Both Arabs and Israelis must realize that their fate is in their hands." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)