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Jordan's King Urges Renewed US Commitment to Middle East Peace

07 March 2007

Jordan's King Abdullah is urging the United States to make a new commitment to peace in the Middle East. VOA's Dan Robinson reports from Capitol Hill, where the king told a joint meeting of Congress that inaction is pushing the region toward greater danger and encouraging terrorism.

The king told members of the House and Senate that renewed U.S. leadership toward resolving the decades-long conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is crucial.

Referring to what he called 40 years of a stop-and-go peace process that has left a bitter legacy of disappointment and despair, he called on the United States to help create a new and different legacy of peace.

"Nothing can achieve that more effectively, nothing can assert America's moral vision more clearly, nothing can reach and teach the world's youth more directly, than your leadership in a peace process that delivers results not next year, not in five years, but this year," he said.

To accomplish this, King Abdullah said, will require understanding, agreement, and compromise.

Referring to the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, he said Muslim countries meeting recently in Islamabad lent their support to a renewed peace process.

"The goals must be a peace in which all sides gain," he said. "It must be anchored in security and opportunity for all. It must be a peace that will free young Palestinians to focus on a future of progress and prosperity."

"It must be a peace that makes Israel a part of the neighborhood, a neighborhood that extends from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, across the breadth of the southern Mediterranean, to the coast of the Indian Ocean," he added.

The king also warned of the danger of spreading radicalism in the region, saying failure to move the peace process forward risks further violence from "ideologies of terror and hatred."

Recalling the deaths of Americans and Jordanians at the hands of terrorists, he warned that diminishing public confidence in the peace process is moving the region toward greater danger.

"The cycle of crises is spinning faster, and with greater potential for destruction," he said. "Changing military doctrine and weaponry pose new dangers. Increasing numbers of external factors are intervening with their own strategic agendas, raising new dangers of proliferation and crisis."

"These are groups that seek even more division: faith against faith, nation against nation, community against community. Any further erosion in the situation would be serious for the future of moderation and coexistence, in the region and beyond," he continued.

King Abdullah said that while Americans and the world are concerned about the situation in Iraq, the source of regional division and the source of resentment and frustration remains the denial of justice and peace in Palestine.

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