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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Meets U.S. Activists and Business Leaders
Amman, 15 September 2003

His Majesty King Abdullah II has stressed the necessity for the Palestinian Authority to re-assume its role on the ground and similarly the U.S. Administration should succumb to what it is being said that the United States would not interfere in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, although it is the core of all issues in the region, unless the Palestinians and Israelis are serious in resuming the peace process.

King Abdullah made his remarks during a meeting with representatives of Arab American and Jewish American societies on Monday. The failure of Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was the responsibility of Israel and not only his disagreement with President Arafat because Israel did not honour its commitments entailed in the Roadmap peace plan, King Abdullah said.

The King urged Israel to give a hand to new Palestinian Premier Ahmed Qureia to help him carry out his job and advised the Arab Americans to stimulate the U.S. Administration to back him.

He said his talks with President Bush would focus on reinvigorate the Roadmap which tackled the Palestinian issue in the best possible way. "It is very difficult at this stage to declare the death of the Roadmap because this would mean taking a long time to prepare a new initiative," the King said.

The peace process should not remain pending on small steps that could be blown up by extremists, rather it needs big steps not only limited to stop building new settlements but to dismantle the existing ones and to put down a timetable for Israel to carry out its obligations so as to help the Palestinian Authority do the same and then they will both be held accountable for what haven't done, the King said.

On the situation in Iraq, the King warned against plans for establishing a federation as solution for the Iraqi issue. The King described the idea of federation which includes establishing three entities on ethnic basis that can be unified later on as "recipe for destruction and civil war". He also described President Bush's call for sending more international troops to Iraq as a positive initiative.

At the outset of his state visit to Washington, King Abdullah had luncheon meeting with representatives of 11 organizations interested in human rights and democracy where the King outlined stages of democratic development in Jordan. Over 60% of Jordanians took part in the recent parliamentary elections and this would help the new House of Deputies to promote democracy in the Kingdom, the King said.

King Abdullah also talked about freedom of the press and political pluralism. For the first time we see a dialogue going on between the media, the Parliament and the government in Jordan, the King said.

However, he added the presence of over 30 political parties would not help political development in the Kingdom.

During a meeting with a group of U.S. leading businessmen, King Abdullah said Jordan could be a gateway for investment projects in the Middle East due to the availability of certain qualities and incentives such as skilled workers and well-educated people who can fit in the market needs. The King also noted the tremendous investment opportunities in vital economic sectors.