Abdullah II calls for support of Riyadh initiative

Warns that Israel's West Bank security barrier and construction of settlements are obstacles to peace.

abdullah 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
abdullah 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Jordan's King Abdullah II on Monday urged a group of Palestinian peace activists to support recent efforts by Arab leaders to make peace with Israel, according to a government statement. The Arab peace initiative, introduced in 2002 by Saudi Arabia and revived at an Arab summit in Riyadh last month, envisages full Arab recognition of Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in the 1967 Middle East War. It also calls for Palestinian statehood. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has praised the plan, calling its full recognition of Israel a major breakthrough in Arab relations with the Jewish state. But he has flatly rejected the plan's demand for the return of Palestinian refugees displaced in wars. Jordan's king, a moderate US ally, asked the peace activists, whose identities were not revealed, to work together and with their counterparts in Israel to convince the region's "silent majority" of the importance of peace for present and future generations, the release said. Abdullah also warned that Israel's West Bank security barrier and its construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories were significant obstacles to peace, according to the statement. The release said Monday's meeting will be followed by similar ones with Western and Israeli peace activists, but did not provide further details.