King Abdullah rejects calls to abandon peace treaty with Israel, urges diplomatic solution to Iraqi issue
Jordan's King Abdullah II rejected Thursday war threats against Iraq and urged continued dialogue between the United Nations and Baghdad. In a wide-ranging televised speech, Abdullah said Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories was the "main cause of conflict in the region." "Peace cannot prevail until the occupied Arab lands are returned to the Palestinians on the bases of United Nations resolutions ... and the Arab initiative."
The king was predicted to declare a date for parliamentary elections, already postponed twice since legislature was dissolved in June 2001. Abdullah said the polls would be held "next spring."
On the issue of Iraq, the Jordanian monarch said Jordan advocated an "end to Iraq's suffering, respect for its sovereignty and the unity of its lands and to acknowledge Iraq's right to live in security and peace." A solution to the Iraqi problem could come through "dialogue with the United Nations, instead of threatening with force and the use of force," Abdullah aired. But he added "the decision in the end is that of the Iraqi leadership, they bear the responsibility in front of their people, (Arab) nation and the world."
Turning to the Palestinians, Abdullah repeated his call for the creation of an "independent Palestinian state on Palestinian soil." He endorsed U.S. President Bush's vision for a Mideast settlement, saying the state must be set up within a "specific time frame." But the king appeared to differ with the president's call on the Palestinians in June to elect a new leadership. Abdullah said the Palestinian Authority was "the only legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people and that the Palestinian people only can choose their leadership and take their national decisions."
King Abdullah rejected calls by his countrymen to abandon a peace treaty signed with Israel in 1994, saying the accord constituted a "real guarantee for the protection of our rights, interests and borders." "To us, it is a defense line against Israeli expansion ideas," he said. "Jordan will never ever be an alternative to the Palestinian leadership," he said. "Jordan will not be a party to the settlement of the Palestinian cause nor to talking on behalf of the Palestinian people."
On parliamentary elections, Abdullah said "difficult regional circumstances" and preparations for the polls had dictated a postponement in the last 14 months. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)