Jordan's Abdullah urges Israel to accept to Arab plan

Says peace initiative "addresses all aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict," and calls on leaders "not to waste this historic opportunity."

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Jordan's King Abdullah II urged Israel on Monday to "respond positively" to the Arab peace initiative, saying Israel and the Palestinians should seize the moment to make peace. Abdullah made the comments during talks with visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is touring the region urging Arab leaders to amend their 2002 plan so it can be a basis for a new push for the peace process. Saudi Arabia's foreign minister suggested Monday that Arab leaders would be willing to consider changes in the peace offer. Arab officials said Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt would look at ways to "repackage" the offer during an Arab summit on Wednesday and Thursday in Riyadh. The initiative stipulates full Arab recognition of Israel in return for Israel's complete withdrawal from lands it captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Abdullah said the plan laid the "basis for pushing ahead with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel." He said it was comprehensive because it "addresses all aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict." The king, whose country is a key US ally and one of two Arab peace partners with Israel, appealed to Israeli leaders "not to waste this historic opportunity." He urged both sides to "capitalize on the growing Arab and international momentum to revive the stalled peace process," according to a statement released by his office. Abdullah hosted Rice at a working lunch in an Amman palace attended by senior security and political aides. He later met with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who also held a separate round of discussions with the US secretary in the Jordanian capital earlier Monday - his second meeting with Rice in as many days.