King warns Middle East conflict breeds more extremism, violence

King Abdullah on Thursday said the West should realise that in the absence of a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the world is headed towards decades of more violence and extremism.“If we don’t have an independent viable Palestinian state therefore we don’t have a two-state solution; we don’t have a two-state solution, therefore we have no peace between Israelis and Palestinians; we have no peace between Israelis and Palestinians, how can we broker a peace between Israelis and Arabs and Muslims?” the King asked during an interview with the Canadian daily Globe and Mail in Amman, hours before he left for Ottawa on a several-day visit.

“So, do we resign ourselves to decades of more violence which all of us will pay the price for? I mean, international extremism is affecting every country in the world.”

The Monarch said the role the international community needs to play “is to get the Israelis and Palestinians to sit around the negotiation table and discuss these issues”.

“What we’re trying to do is build on the Sharm El Sheikh meeting of several weeks ago to try to get the Israelis and the Palestinians moving forward,” he told the paper, referring to last month’s four-way summit, which grouped the King, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

“Ideally, we would like to see larger meetings over the next several months, then get more of the international community together to give the umbrella to the Israelis and Palestinians to move forward.”

Speaking about Canada’s role in the Middle East, the King said it is “relevant”.

“Canada is relevant because of the many levels that you play; it’s not just the economic level but the political. You’re internationally well-known for your peacekeeping efforts in the region, and Canada is part of the moderate nations that are trying to bring stability to this part of the world.”

On Jordan’s peaceful nuclear plans, the King said the Kingdom seeks to “be the example of how to do right in the Middle East”.

“If we are going to embark on a nuclear energy programme, then the only way we want to do it is to be the example of how to do right in the Middle East, but also to make sure that we have the most efficient, clean and transparent form of energy. And that is where I think Canada plays a role and we’ve had some very serious and ongoing discussions with the Canadians on this respect.”

During his trip to Canada, King Abdullah will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Canadian political and business leaders.

King Abdullah and Harper will discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories and efforts to revive the peace process based on a two-state solution and international resolutions. The two leaders are also expected to discuss the situation in Iraq and ways to strengthen security and stability in the violence-hit country.

Bilateral ties, particularly economic cooperation, will be high on the King’s agenda.

Talks with Canadian leaders are expected to address trade and investment relations as well as energy security and Jordan’s debt to Canada.

The King will also meet with Stephane Dion, head of the Liberal Party and opposition leader, and members of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives which groups economic leaders in the country.

King Abdullah will discuss ways to attract Canadian investment to Jordan and encourage joint projects between the two countries’ private sectors. He will also deliver a speech at the foreign ministry’s Lester B. Pearson Building, which was established in honour of renowned Canadian foreign minister and Nobel peace laureate who later became prime minister.

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