MIDDLE EAST

Jordan’s King Abdullah: Two-state solution basis of Middle East peace

Arab leaders and head of delegations pose for a group photograph during the 28th Ordinary Summit of the Arab League at the Dead Sea, Jordan March 29, 2017. (Reuters)

Jordan's King Abdullah said peace would not be attained in the Middle East without the creation of a Palestinian state under a two-state solution that would be the basis of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal.

In a speech at the start of an Arab summit held beside the Dead Sea, King Abdullah said the kingdom's western neighbor Israel was wrecking the chances of peace by accelerating settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory.

Speaking on Syria, the king said he hoped that the recent round of negotiations between the opposition and the regime initiate a political process.

He also said that the Arab bloc also supports efforts to restore stability in Libya and Yemen.

Also speaking during the opening session was Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, who said that the Palestinian cause remains to be the region’s main focus.

“Palestinian divisions are having a negative impact on the Palestinian cause,” he said. “Crises in Arab world are tough, but the will to defeat them must be tougher,” he added, in reference to conflicts in the region.

While they are highly unlikely to bridge rifts over the regional role of Iran or intractable wars in Syria and Yemen, Arab leaders remain united in supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We are concerned that there should be an Arab consensus on the Palestinian file so that this reflects clearly in the discussions of Arab states and their leaders with the new American administration,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told Reuters.

Before taking office in January, Trump promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem - something adamantly opposed by Arabs as tantamount, in their view, to recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

The Palestinians want Arab East Jerusalem - which Israel captured in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognized internationally - as the capital of a future state encompassing the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been frozen since 2014.

Also read: King Salman meets Jordan’s King Abdullah ahead of Arab summit

(With Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 29 March 2017 KSA 13:02 - GMT 10:02
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