Jordanian king met with Abbas on Jerusalem, peace efforts

By REUTERS
August 7, 2017 14:35

It is King Abdullah's first visit to Ramallah in five years and comes at a time when the peace process is at a standstill and Israeli-Jordanian relations are tense.

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Jordanian king met with Abbas on Jerusalem, peace efforts

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas review the honour guard during a reception ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 7, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Jordan's King Abdullah arrived in Ramallah Monday for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aimed at deepening ties and discussing "current developments in the Palestinian territories" in the wake of last month's crisis over the al-Aksa mosque compound.

After flying by military helicopter to Abbas's muqata presidential compound and being greeted by Abbas, the king reviewed an honor guard and the Jordanian and Palestinian national anthems were played before the two headed into talks.

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It is King Abdullah's first visit to Ramallah in five years and comes at a time when the peace process is at a standstill and Israeli-Jordanian relations are tense over a shooting incident at the Israeli embassy in Amman last month.

"We discussed all issues of mutual interest and we agreed to form a crisis committee that will continue contacts to evaluate what has happened, the lessons to be learned and the challenges we may face at Al Aqsa mosque," Palestinian Foreign Minister Reyad Al-Maliki told reporters after the meeting.

Maliki said Abbas and Abdullah also discussed US-led efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have been suspended for the past three years, and stated that Israel must "recognize the principle of a two-state solution and end provocative settlement activity that is designed to prevent the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state."

Jordan, which is custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem, was in discussions with the United States in order to help resolve the crisis over Israel's installation of metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount/al-Aksa mosque compound. The detectors were installed after a deadly July 14 attack at the site by three Israeli Arabs. Israel said this was to prevent further attacks, but the Palestinians viewed it as a step to taking over the mosque.

Under diplomatic pressure and faced with Palestinian protests, Israel ended a two week standoff by withdrawing the detectors and all other newly installed equipment.Jordan's King Abdullah II walks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a reception ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah


Jordan's ad-Dustour newspaper on Monday quoted the Palestinian ambassador in Amman, Atallah Kheiry as terming the visit "historic."

"It will open new horizons between the leaderships in all realms." The two leaders will discuss how the peace process can be moved forward and Palestinian steps to counter Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, he added.

"The visit reaffirms that brotherly Jordan is the closest to Palestine in all circumstances and times," Kheiry said.


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