Abdullah to meet Abbas in W. Bank

The rare visit, scheduled for Sunday, is aimed at relaunching peace talks.

abdullah 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
abdullah 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Jordan's King Abdullah II will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Sunday on a rare visit to the Palestinian territories aimed at relaunching Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the Jordanian government said. The statement, carried by the official Petra news agency on Friday, said Abdullah will discuss international efforts to jump-start the peace process based on an Arab peace initiative first launched in Saudi Arabia in 2002 and revived at a summit in Riyadh in March. Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh told The Associated Press that Abdullah's visit "reflects the king's continuous and well known position and efforts to push all the sides to the negotiation table and his full support for the establishment of a Palestinian state." Nabil Abu Redneih, Abbas' spokesman, was quoted by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA as saying the king's visit "comes as part of the consultation and coordination between the (Palestinian) Authority and the kingdom to push forward the peace process and revive it according to the Arab peace initiative." Abdullah has visited Ramallah once before, a brief stopover to see then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2000, soon after Abdullah ascended to the throne. In 1999, he visited Arafat in the Gaza Strip. His decision to hold Sunday's talks in the West Bank, ruled by Jordan until Israel seized the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War War, underlined the sense of urgency Jordan feels in pushing forward the lagging efforts to revive peace efforts. On Thursday, Abdullah urged a group of visiting Israeli peace activists in Amman to preserve the diminishing opportunity for peace by supporting the Arab peace initiative.