King, Queen in the US

King, UN chief discuss regional peace

February 29, 2008

(Jordan Times - Amman) His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday discussed with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon the UN’s role in achieving peace and stability in the region and the world.

 During a meeting in New York with the UN chief, the King voiced appreciation for the international organization’s contribution to peace efforts in the Middle East and the assistance it extends to the Palestinian people to alleviate their hardships under an economic siege imposed by Israel on the Palestinian lands, especially the Gaza Strip. During the talks, attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania, the King reviewed Jordan’s efforts to push forward the peace process and to ensure that the negotiations under way between the Palestinians and Israelis achieve tangible results that lead to the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state. The King, who arrived in New York earlier in the day at the start of a working visit to the US, also commended the role the UN is playing to enhance Iraq’s stability and security and create better living conditions for the Iraqi people. On Lebanon, His Majesty said Jordan strongly supports the Arab initiative to end the political impasse in the country. Ban hailed Jordan’s participation in UN-led peacekeeping forces and its Mideast peace efforts. In statements to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, earlier Thursday, Foreign Minister Salah Bashir said the King’s visit to the US is part of his efforts to take advantage of the available opportunities and to encourage the US to fulfil its obligations in supporting and pushing forward the peace process. In addition, Bashir said that the visit comes to ensure that the US encourage the Palestinians and Israelis to reach a peace agreement this year.  The top diplomat said King Abdullah is aware of the perils the region will have to deal with if the issues of Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon remain without solutions. Meanwhile, US Ambassador in Amman David Hale told Petra that the Monarch’s visit is important in its timing as far as the issues and challenges facing the Middle East are concerned. The visit also acquires importance from the extraordinary partnership the two countries have developed. The US increased its assistance to Jordan by 48 per cent this year, with $663 million in total, including $300 million in military aid, Hale added. The assistance comes in recognition of Jordan’s efforts in regional peace and stability on the one hand, and the burden the Kingdom shoulders on the other, he said.  The diplomat said that his country has also helped Jordan purchase its debts from Paris Club. During his US visit, King Abdullah will hold talks at the White House with President George W. Bush on ways to advance the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations in addition to developments in the Middle East. In New Jersey, the King will deliver a policy address at Princeton University, sponsored by Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His Majesty’s talks with members of both Houses of the US Congress will focus on developing bilateral ties. King Abdullah is also scheduled to meet with representatives of Muslim and Jewish organisations to explore the role they can play in fostering peace opportunities in the region and strengthening bridges of dialogue, understanding, tolerance and coexistence between the Arab and Muslim worlds and the West.