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KING, BRITISH PM DISCUSS PALESTINIAN, IRAQ ISSUES

The Jordan Times
January 5, 2004

AMMAN (Agencies) — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday met British Prime Minister Tony Blair for talks on Middle East peace process and the future of Iraq, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

"Both leaders insisted on the need to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in order to put an end to the continuing violence," a Royal Court official told Agence France-Presse.

Blair made a stopover in Jordan after visiting British troops in southern Iraq.

King Abdullah reiterated that Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories, including assassinations, incursions and the construction of a security barrier in the West Bank, "contribute to increasing tensions and violence" in the Middle East, the official was quoted by AFP as saying.

The two leaders "also agreed on the need to speed up steps aimed at restoring sovereignty in Iraq."

Meanwhile, King Abdullah pledged Jordan's support for efforts by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to activate and develop its role, Petra said.

"The challenges that face our Islamic nation call for the reinforcement of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference," the King told visiting OIC Secretary General Abdelouahed Belkeziz.

"Jordan backs all the efforts and suggestions aimed at developing the organisation's work so that it becomes a cornerstone in clarifying the true picture of Islam," the King said, according to Petra.

Belkeziz praised King Abdullah for his "vital role in explaining the moderate and peaceful message of Islam, particularly after the September 11 [2001]," terror attacks against the United States, Petra said.

Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher also met Belkeziz to discuss regional developments and issues of concern to Muslim nations.

Belkeziz said the organisation should revise its 33-year-old charter.

Also on Sunday, King Abdullah telephoned French President Jacques Chirac and Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, expressing sympathy over the Sharm El Sheikh plane crash, which killed 135 French nationals and 13 Egyptians.

 

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