Musharraf says ‘new strong initiative’ needed in Mideast

news35.jpgAMMAN — Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday said he held talks with King Abdullah on the “urgency for a new strong initiative to effectively” address Mideast crises.

Musharraf said in a statement to the press, following his talks with the King, that he discussed at the meeting challenges facing the Muslim nation, particularly the “deteriorating situation in the Middle East and its implications…”

Urging “harmony” within the Muslim world, Musharraf said Pakistan was deeply concerned about the “unresolved Palestine issue… the increasing cycle of violence in Iraq and troubles in Lebanon”.

“There is an ever-increasing need for harmony within the Muslim world.”

He also spoke about the “common fight against terrorism and extremism”.

King Abdullah said he shared Musharraf’s concerns and views. “We also discussed our shared concern about regional and global security issues, especially those confronting the Muslim world. We see eye-to-eye on all these issues,” King Abdullah told the press.

“President Musharraf shares our sense of urgency that another opportunity not be missed to reach a lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.”  The Monarch, meanwhile, said he held talks with the Pakistani president on preparations to hold the G-11 summit on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan in May.

The King said the G-11 countries — Jordan, Pakistan, Honduras, Ecuador, Georgia, Indonesia, Morocco, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Salvador and Croatia — face similar challenges and need support by the G-8 for their reform programmes. He launched the G-11 at  the United Nations in September.

Also yesterday, King Abdullah said he hoped that Amman and Islamabad will be able to launch the Jordan-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue in spring, stressing that such an initiative will provide the proper framework for enhancing bilateral ties and cooperation. Musharraf arrived in Jordan on Monday night as part of a tour of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and the UAE.

Later Tuesday, Musharraf travelled to Syria where he met President Bashar Assad. They discussed Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other regional developments,  the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

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