King Abdullah II of Jordan, during a visit to Oxford, Mississippi, and New Orleans said the international community should respect the decision the Palestinians made in electing Hamas to lead their parliament. "The Palestinian elections last week were an important step in the history of the Palestinian people," Abdullah said in Oxford on Friday. "We have to respect their choice." Those comments came during a visit to the University of Mississippi, Abdullah's first public appearance during his current trip to the United States. "It is now vital for the parties to return rapidly to the negotiation table and equally vital for the international community to continue their support," Abdullah said. "Establishing a viable, sovereign Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel is the only way to restore stability and security."