Jordan to Bush: Restart peace process

Says Abbas should negotiate with Israel; fears spillover of violence to Jordan.

abdullah 88 (photo credit: )
abdullah 88
(photo credit: )
Jordan's king has appealed to US President George W. Bush to help restart the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, saying that a deterioration in security in the West Bank could spill over to his nation, the royal palace said in a statement released Friday. King Abdullah II wrote to Bush on Thursday, urging him to "explore all opportunities to achieve the president's vision for a two-state solution," said the statement made available to The Associated Press. Abdullah reiterated the "importance of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, stating that any withdrawal from the West Bank is welcomed, if negotiated with the Palestinian leadership in the person of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas." Jordan had previously said that it wanted Abbas to negotiate peace with Israel. But the king's emphasis on Abbas amounted to another snub to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, which Jordan has shunned following the April 18 discovery of a large Hamas cache of weapons. Jordan has alleged the weapons, with which Hamas leaders denied any link, were to be used in attacks against its institutions and officials. After the cache was found, Jordan canceled a visit by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas leader in Gaza. In his letter to Bush, Abdullah warned that any "unilateral [Israeli] action will have negative repercussions on the Palestinians, Arab and Muslim countries." "A deterioration of the Palestinian situation could have adverse consequences on Jordan's national security," said a statement, referring to Jordanian concerns of a spill over of violence to the kingdom. Roughly half of Jordan's 5.5 million people consists of Palestinian families displaced in the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars and their descendants. "A negotiated withdrawal will offer Palestinians hope in a political settlement and enhance movement on the road map," the king wrote, referring to the internationally backed peace plan that envisions an end to violence and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.