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King renews calls for peace in NY meetings
New York, 24 September 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday held talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and Tunisian President Moncef Al Marzouki on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings.

King Abdullah’s meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon focused on the latest Middle East developments, especially the situation in Syria and regional peace efforts.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of His Majesty’s participation in the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The King stressed the pivotal role the UN plays in helping achieve solutions to challenges facing the Middle East, chiefly the Syrian unrest and its aggravating consequences on the entire region.

His Majesty reiterated Jordan’s support for a comprehensive peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis that can end the suffering of the Syrian people and ensure them a better future.

His Majesty highlighted the burden that Jordan is carrying as a result of hosting more than 580,000 Syrian refugees, and the tremendous pressure this places on infrastructure and services.

Ban lauded Jordan’s relief assistance to the Syrian refugees which, he said, has “immensely helped alleviate their suffering”, stressing at the same time the UN’s continuation of aid to the Kingdom’s “internationally appreciated” humanitarian efforts.

Ban stressed that the UN will continue coordinating with international donors to enable Jordan to deal with the consequences of the Syrian crisis, mainly the refugee emergency.

Discussions during the meeting also covered efforts to reach common ground between the Palestinians and Israelis to arrive at the two-state solution, which is a higher Jordanian interest.

In that vein, His Majesty stressed Jordan’s commitment to supporting international endeavours led by the US to help the Palestinians and Israelis reach substantial progress in their negotiations.

Ban reaffirmed UN support for these efforts and any actions that enhance peace opportunities.

Discussions also touched on several regional issues and UN efforts to address them. The UN chief expressed appreciation for Jordan’s active participation in international peacekeeping forces around the world.

In a separate meetingwith Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, His Majesty called for Arab and international consensus on a comprehensive political solution to end the Syrian crisis.

The two leaders stressed the need to activate the international community’s role in aiding countries hosting Syrian refugees, the majority of whom now reside in Jordan and Lebanon.

The King stressed the need to bolster peace efforts, calling for concrete progress in Palestinian-Israeli talks that leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living in peace with Israel.

Discussions also covered means to enhance bilateral relations and a number of regional issues.

The meeting with Tunisian President Moncef Al Marzouki also focused on the Syrian crisis. His Majesty and the President stressed the need for a comprehensive and peaceful solution to end the suffering of the Syrian people and spare the region further tension and violence.

They also discussed bilateral ties and ways to improve them, voicing keenness to continue coordination and consultations over regional developments.

His Majesty also discussed the Syrian issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, stressing the need for US-Russia efforts towards a solution to the chemical weapons threat to focus on finding a political solution to the overall Syrian crisis.

The King noted that Jordan has always warned against the dangers of Syria’s chemical weapons, especially as a direct neighbour.

The solution Jordan envisions should engage all components of Syrian society and be in line with the outcome of the Geneva I conference, His Majesty said, urging the resumption of efforts to hold Geneva II conference.

In addition to bilateral relations and prospects of future cooperation, the King and Lavrov discussed efforts to achieve Mideast peace on the basis of the two-state solution and the role Russia plays in such endeavours in general and through its membership in the international Quartet.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II attended the meetings, along with Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, His Majesty’s Office Director Imad Fakhoury and Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN His Highness Prince Zeid Bin Raad.