In response to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's so-called "disengagement plan" for the Gaza Strip, Jordan's King Abdullah II, in an interview with the Tel Aviv-based Ma'ariv daily, said, "it is a step in a positive direction. We need to know more about it, but anything that propels the process forward is good."
When his advisors diplomatically attempted to end the interview, according to the report, the King continued, "I believe that the disengagement plan must be coordinated between Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinians, and also the Quartet."
The Jordanian Monarch said that he views Gaza as an integral part of the Mid-East peace process, "The Geneva initiative and others are excellent, as long as they help move the process forward. When we talk of comprehensive peace, we must have a practical solution, like the Road Map. Issues like disengagement are only part of the bigger picture".
King Abdullah II spoke with a Ma'ariv reporter in the course of a reception at his Amman palace for participants at Tuesday's cornerstone-laying ceremony of the joint Jordanian-Israeli Bridging the Rift Center on the border between the two countries.
During the ceremony, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would soon be meeting the Jordanian King (who was not in attendance). However, King Abdullah later told reporters that no such meeting was on the agenda for the near future.
Moreover, when asked about Amman's complaints that Israel's so-called security fence might endanger the demographic balance in Jordan by causing Palestinian emigration, the King replied, "The Initfada has created sensitivities between Israelis and Jordanians, but we must look beyond that. The project that's being launched in the Arava allows us to step aside from politics and develop real peace between people. This is an educational project for the benefit of the whole region, and it is also important for Israel’s future relationships with the rest of the Middle East". (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )