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(photo credit: AP)
Jordan's King Abdullah II sought to rally support for the Arab peace plan in talks Tuesday with visiting US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying the plan underpinned the Arabs' desire for a peaceful settlement with Israel.
Abdullah, a moderate US ally and an advocate of a peaceful Arab-Israeli settlement, has been pushing for reviving the peace process on the basis of the Arab plan, introduced by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and revived during an Arab summit in Riyadh last month.
According to a Palace statement, Abdullah told Gates during a closed door meeting Tuesday that there is a "need to support the Arab Peace Initiative, which reflects the Arab willingness to establish peace with Israel and end decades of Arab-Israeli conflict."
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The statement quoted the monarch as telling Gates that the "Palestinian-Israeli problem remains the core conflict in the region and that international and regional actors should make the establishment of an independent Palestinian state a priority in order to realize regional peace and stability."
The king also reiterated the "importance of advancing peace in the region in accordance with a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," the statement said.
The king has also urged Israel to respond "positively" to the Arab plan, saying it offered a "rare opportunity" for Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking.