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Abdullah sees "no future" for Israel without just peace

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Saturday September 16, 2006

Amman- King Abdullah II of Jordan on Saturday painted a grim picture for the Middle East if the status quo persists in the region, and cautioned that Israel "will have no future" without a just and comprehensive settlement that guarantees rights of the Palestinians. "Regrettably the space of optimism has shrunk, and I hereby warn that the region is heading to a dark future, barring any moves by all parties in the coming weeks to arrive at solution which is convincing for the peoples," the monarch said in an interview with the London- based Arabic daily, al-Hayat.

"Israel, the United States and the entire world have now realized after the Lebanon war that Israel has no future except with the accomplishment of just peace that ensures the return of rights to their owners. Israel and the entire region cannot enjoy security if the Palestinians are deprived of it," he added.

Abdullah referred to the reported military setbacks that Israel suffered at the hands of Lebanon's Hezbollah militias during the conflict that started on July 12.

He contended that the conflict "proved failure of all unilateral solutions" which Israel adopted so far.

"The solution now lies in the return to the negotiating table. It is high time to go back to the root of the conflict - the Palestinian question," the monarch said.

Abdullah, who left for New York Saturday, is due to deliver an address before the UN General Assembly that urges the world community to shoulder its responsibilities in bringing about a real partnership for Middle East peace.

His agenda also includes meetings with heads of state and taking part in the first Arab-American Forum to be attended by 200 young Arab leaders.

Abdullah said that he was carrying "ideas" he worked out with Saudi and Egyptian leaders for the conclusion of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli settlement.

A text of the interview was released by the royal court.

The Jordanian head of state also warned against a "rapid slide into a civil war in Iraq, the offshoots of which could expand to affect neighbouring countries".

"What is taking place in Iraq stirs our concerns as the violence there takes a sectarian dimension. But at the same time I count on the awareness of the Iraqi people and their realization of the dangers that threaten their country," he said.

The king commended reconciliation plans adopted by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and urged Arab countries to support him.

He expressed the hope that the Iranian nuclear crisis would be resolved "without a military confrontation".

"Our region cannot tolerate a new crisis the price of which would be paid by all of us. Therefore, the world community is urged to resolve this issue through dialogue and diplomatic channels," he said.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agenteur