Jordan's FM coordinating on Kerry’s peace efforts

Judeh says Kerry set to visit Hashemite Kingdom "within days"; Israeli officials: We want Jordan involved in diplomatic process.

June 3, 2013 06:41
2 minute read.
Nassar Judeh.

Nassar Judeh 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Jordan “within days” to continue efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nassar Judeh said in Ramallah on Sunday following talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

AFP quoted Judeh at a joint press commerce with PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki as saying that “Kerry has been in Jordan three times already and he will be back for a fourth visit within days.”

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Judeh said his own visit to Ramallah was part of the “major effort by the Americans” to restart the negotiations. He also said the US was serious about ensuring Palestinian rights within the framework of a two-state solution.

Judeh gave Abbas a letter from King Abdullah II concerning the latest developments in the diplomatic process, and said his visit was part of “coordination” between Jordan and the PA.

The Jordanian minister told reporters that the kingdom was holding intensive contacts with several countries to support the efforts of the Palestinian leadership.

Israeli officials said Jerusalem welcomed Jordanian participation in the diplomatic process. “We want them involved,” one government official said. “We think they have a positive influence. We welcomed them in the past, and continue to welcome their participation.”

Yediot Aharonot reported on Friday that the US administration was promoting a formula for the Jordan Valley that would involve Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian control of the strategic area along the Jordan River.

While Israel is demanding that it retain security control of the Jordan Valley in any agreement, especially in light of the regional uncertainty, the Palestinians are demanding full control of the area.

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat denied talk about joint Israeli-Jordanian control over the region.

The Jordan Valley “is a Palestinian-Jordanian border and Israel has nothing to do with it,” Erekat said. He added that the Palestinians were opposed to any Israeli presence in the Jordan valley.

Israeli diplomatic officials would not relate to the report.

Abbas, meanwhile, facing increased pressure from the US administration to resume negotiations without preconditions, reiterated to Judeh his demand that Israel halt settlement construction, release Palestinian prisoners and accept the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

A PA official said that Jordan had offered to host “exploratory” talks between the PA and Israel in Amman. The official said that Abbas was opposed to the idea “because such talks have not achieved anything in the past.”

According to the official, the “Palestinian street” would turn against Abbas and the PA leadership if they agreed to return to the negotiating table unconditionally.

Malki said that both the Palestinians and Jordanians were working toward making Kerry’s mission succeed.

Erekat said that Kerry’s current efforts were not open-ended. He denied that Kerry was trying to arrange a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Washington next week.

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