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Jordan's king Abdullah has welcomed US President George W. Bush's call for an international Middle East peace conference, telling the US leader that relaunching Arab-Israeli peacemaking was a "positive step".
"President Bush's call for holding an international peace conference to discuss ways to restarting the Palestinian-Israeli peace process according to a two-state solution is a positive step in the right direction," the Jordanian monarch, a close US ally, told Bush in a telephone call Monday.
"This call will pave the way for achieving a real and tangible progress in the peace process leading to an independent Palestinian state to be established on Palestinian soil," Abdullah added, according to a palace statement released by his Royal Court Tuesday.
The king, who is on a state visit to Canada, also described Bush's pledge for more than US$190 million in aid to the Palestinians as a "constructive step toward easing economic hardship facing the Palestinian people."
Bush said Monday that the proposed conference will bring together Israelis, Palestinians and some of their Arab neighbors thrashing out issues that have blocked restarting peace negotiations and setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The conference would be held this fall at a location to be specified later, he said.