Confederation out of question — King

Monarch in Cairo today for talks with Mubarak

AMMAN (JT) — King Abdullah on Monday reiterated that there is no question of forming a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation or federation at the current time, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

“The concept of a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation or federation does not exist in our dictionary at the moment. We do not accept to delve into this issue,” the King told EU ambassadors in Jordan during a meeting at the residence of German envoy Klaus Burkhardt.

“Raising this issue every now and then does not serve the interests of Jordanians and Palestinians.”

Last month, Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with the Financial Times that “some kind of federation or confederation between Jordan and the Palestinians” would enhance peace prospects in the region, Agence France-Presse reported. But the King yesterday said raising the confederation issue under the circumstances is “aimed at undermining efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East”.  “There is a possibility that Jordan might accept discussing the matter in the future, after an independent Palestinian state is established and if the two peoples are completely satisfied with it.”

During the meeting, the Monarch highlighted the European Union’s role in achieving peace and stability in the region as well as efforts to help Palestinians and Israelis relaunch the peace process.

He urged Europe to maintain pushing for a comprehensive political settlement of the Palestinian issue, which, he reiterated, is the core of the regional conflict.

King Abdullah said the EU should encourage Palestinians and Israelis to take practical trust-building steps in order to revive the peace process.

The Monarch briefed the European ambassadors on Jordan’s position on regional issues as well as efforts to help achieve peace that would lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in line with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. “The Arab Peace Initiative is a significant opportunity and a turning point that must not be missed,” he said.

The peace plan, reendorsed by Arab leaders in March, offers Israel normal ties in return for withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967 and the return of refugees.

The King also called on the EU to maintain economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians to help ease their suffering.

The Monarch is due in Cairo today for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Middle East developments, in particular the situation in Palestinian territories, Petra said.

Also yesterday, the King stressed the importance of  the international community’s support for Iraq and Lebanon to enhance their security and stability.

On bilateral relations, King Abdullah and the EU envoys discussed means to promote partnership agreements, particularly in economic fields, as well as debt relief through the Paris Club.

The King  expressed his appreciation for European assistance to Jordan’s development programmes, saying that the Kingdom is moving ahead with modernisation, reform and bolstering democratisation.

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