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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Abdullah Opens Talks with Blair
Amman, 25 February 2003

His Majesty King Abdullah II and British Prime Minister Tony Blair opened talks on Tuesday focusing on latest developments in the Middle East region particularly those related to the Iraqi crisis and the Palestinian issue. Talks also covered ways to further boost bilateral relations.

King Abdullah, who started a short visit to the United Kingdom on Tuesday, stressed the necessity to pursue efforts to give a last chance for peaceful solution to the heated tension in Iraq and to avert Iraq and the entire regions more destruction and disasters.

The King and Blair affirmed that Jordan and Britain prefer a peaceful settlement to the crisis in Iraq through destroying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and they were exerting every possible effort to realize this objective.

The two leaders called upon Iraq to be more cooperative with UN arm inspectors and comply with Security Council resolution 1441 so as not lose this last chance to avoid war. The London talks also dealt with the tragic situation in the Palestinian areas and the need to reinvigorate the peace process. To that end King Abdullah and Blair called for intensive efforts to resume peace talks aimed to bring in a just and lasting settlement that could secure the establishment of a viable Palestinian state side by side with secured Israeli state.

King Abdullah commended Britain's role to back efforts to resolve the Palestinian problem including its support to the international quartet committee as well as the meetings of the special work group involved in relieving social and humanitarian situation in the Palestinian areas.

The King urged Britain to continue its assistance to the Palestinian people in their efforts to accomplish the desired reforms.

King Abdullah and Blair, who voiced out their support to the immediate implementation of the "road map", a peace plan prepared the quartet committee to end conflict in the region, noted that the Arab peace initiative and the quartet committee activities are essential elements for the international efforts to realize comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

A joint statement issued following the meeting commending longstanding historic relations between the two countries.

"Jordan and the United Kingdom prefer a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis through disarming Iraq and they are exerting every possible effort to achieve that end .. but time is running short and 15 weeks have passed since the issuance of resolution 1441, which was adopted unanimously by the Security Council members and Iraq has to comply with," the statement said.

"Jordan and Britain agree that this the last chance for peace in the region and called upon Iraq not to lose it," the statement added.

"Jordan and Britain also agree on the urgent need to realize progress towards solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Stability in the region can only be reached through just and lasting settlement that secure the establishment of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel with a secured borders," the statement said.