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Saturday, February 24, 2007

King Abdullah is out to get the Jewish vote too...

It is not only USA presidential candidates who are busy making promises to Zionists. King Abdullah of Jordan is campaigning too. He makes promises to Israeli voters, but he can't keep them. Perhaps if it was the king of Saudi Arabia, it would be more meaningful. Does that tell us what is missing?

Palestinian govt must adhere Quartet demands-Abdullah
24 Feb 2007 10:53:43 GMT
24 Feb 2007 10:53:43 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Adam Entous

JERUSALEM, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Jordan's King Abdullah says there is broad Arab agreement that a Palestinian unity government must adhere to the demands of the Quartet of Middle East mediators.

King Abdullah's comments, to be broadcast on Saturday, are the first from an Arab leader to cast doubt on the willingness of major Arab donors to sidestep a U.S.-led embargo of the Hamas-led government unless it commits to recognising Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by interim peace deals.

"You're not alone on this," King Abdullah said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 television when asked about Israeli concerns the power-sharing deal between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah failed to meet the Quartet's demands.

"There's international common ground -- not just Western but also Arab and to an extent Muslim -- that believe that there have to be certain criteria that the new government has to accept if we're going to move the process forward," he said.

"You have a president, Mahmoud Abbas, who is your negotiator, who ... is prepared to be able to move the peace process forward, and a government that's going to be formed that will have to adhere to the Quartet conditions," he said.

The unity government agreement contained a vague promise to "respect" previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. But the pact did not directly commit the new government to renouncing violence or recognising Israel.

King Abdullah said the goal of the unity agreement was to stop fighting between Hamas and Fatah.

"It's not just ... the international players, but also the Arab countries are also expecting the new Palestinian government to adhere to the policies that we have set out in the Quartet, and in the Arab Quartet also," he said, referring to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

King Abdullah said Abbas should be given "the mandate to start negotiations with the Israelis," and the new government should be in "full compliance with the Arab Accord as well as international commitments".


The Arab initiative, launched in 2002, would trade diplomatic recognition for Israel's withdrawal from land it occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. King Abdullah said the initiative was being re-launched and could draw broader support from Muslim countries around the world.

The unity government deal has widened rifts within the Quartet, which is made up of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, over how to deal with the Palestinian government.

Washington wants to shun the new government to keep pressure on Hamas. Russia and some European states favour a softer line.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said on Friday that several European states had pledged to send money to the new government, though he offered no details.

In the interview, King Abdullah said time was running out to revive the long-stalled peace process. "I think the circumstances in the Middle East have changed so much so that really this is our last opportunity," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held a three-way meeting on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas. But it appeared to do little to jumpstart peace-making.

"I can say they (the talks) have started, not as well as I think we ... expected, but it's a move in the right direction," King Abdullah said.

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