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Jordan's King Abdullah sees no Mideast peace without US role

King Abdullah of Jordan, seen here speaking at last month's economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, said Sunday that the United States remains essential to any hope of a peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
Fabrice COFFRINI (AFP/File)
'I'd like to reserve judgment, because we're still waiting for the Americans to come out with their plan'

King Abdullah II of Jordan said in an interview aired Sunday that the United States remains essential to any hope of a peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians, despite widespread criticism of the new US stance on Jerusalem. 

"We cannot have a peace process or a peace solution without the role of the United States," the monarch said on the CNN program "Fareed Zakaria GPS," in an interview taped at the recent economic summit in Davos, Switzerland.

This was true even after President Donald Trump decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv -- where nearly every other country has its embassy -- to Jerusalem, he said.

In December, Jordan had called Trump's move "a violation of decisions of international law and the United Nations charter," and Abdullah re-iterated his concerns to Vice President Mike Pence who visited the Middle East last month.

Abdullah noted on Sunday that Trump's decision had "created a backlash" by leaving Palestinians feeling "that there isn't an honest broker."

- Awaiting a peace plan -

But, he added, "I'd like to reserve judgment, because we're still waiting for the Americans to come out with their (peace) plan."

Trump's decision was warmly embraced by Israel but widely decried around the world, sparking outrage and protests from Arabs and Muslims.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of an eventual Palestinian state and had hoped that peace talks might someday bring international recognition of that status.

"I think we have to give the Americans the benefit of the doubt and all work together" once the White House issues a peace plan, Abdullah said, while adding that "if it is not a good plan... I don't think we've got a Plan B at this stage."

In his meeting with Pence, he said that he was "encouraged" by Trump's stated commitment to finding a solution to the decades-long conflict, which he said was a "potential major source of instability."

Khalil MAZRAAWI (AFP)

On Monday, King Abdullah urged the international community to "fulfill its responsibilities to protect the rights of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem," adding that the city is "the key to achieving peace and stability in the region", according to a palace statement.

The king emphasized that the stakes around the Jerusalem question are high.

"This is a city that could either create tremendous problems for us in the future, or it is an umbrella that gives us hope," he said. "It could be a tremendous city that brings us together or it could create aggression and violence that we've never seen before."

East Jerusalem was under Jordanian administration until Israel took control in the 1967 Six-Day War, annexed it, and later declared Jerusalem the indivisible capital of Israel, a status never recognized by the international community.

The United States has long seen Jordan as a source of moderation and stability in the region.

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