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Jordan: Talks must be rescued for peace

Dec. 4, 2010 10:32 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2010 9:48 A.M.)
MANAMA, Bahrain (AFP) -- Jordan's King Abdullah II said on Saturday that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks must be rescued from collapse to ensure regional and world stability.

"Our region will not enjoy security and stability unless we solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Arabs, Muslims and Israelis find peace," the king told the Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrain, a major international gathering on regional security.

"If hope is killed, radical forces will prevail. The region will sink into more vicious warfare and instability, threatening security far beyond the borders of the Middle East," he warned.

"This is why it is essential that we rescue the new round of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel," he said of direct pace talks launched in September in Washington.

The talks have ground to a halt as Israel refused Palestinian demands to impose a new moratorium on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

A 10-month freeze expired on September 26, shortly after the launch of the latest round of negotiations.

King Abdullah said "the building of settlements has to stop," and he urged Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to resume "serious negotiations" on all pending issues namely borders, security and refugees.

"Only through such serious negotiations, will we get to the end game: An independent and viable Palestinian state, living side by side a secure Israel, that is accepted and accepting, in a region of peace.

"The alternative is new conflicts that will reverberate far beyond the borders of the Middle East. Conflicts that will threaten the strategic national interests of the United States, Europe and the rest of us in the international community.

"The world has already been dragged into regional conflicts. And it will certainly be involved in new confrontations, that will erupt in this environment of frustration and tension," he added.

The annual Manama Dialogue is organized by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies and was formally opened on Friday night by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has said Washington is "working intensively" to break the impasse in Palestinian-Israeli talks.
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