King Abdullah to address Congress

The Jordanian king is expected to urge the US to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks.

    King Abdullah's father addressed the US Congress 13 years ago

    In a recent interview with Israel's Channel Two, Abdullah said the new Palestinian government must adhere to the demands of the Middle Eastern Quartet, that include recognising Israel, renouncing violence and abiding by peace deals.

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    His controversial comments were the first from the region to cast a doubt on the willingness of major Arab donors to side-step a US-led embargo of the Hamas-led government unless it commits to the conditions.

    Fares Braizat from the University of Jordan Centre for Strategic Studies said: "Despite the fact that Iraq is occupying the centre stage in Washington and around the world, Jordan has a significant interest in having the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolved because it is in the strategic interest of Jordan and without a resolution of that conflict the stability of Jordan in the long term is threatened."

    'Island of moderation'

    The US-Jordanian relationship has remained strong over the years.

    Despite the lack of democracy in Jordan and the sometimes heavy-handed tactics of the security forces, successive American administrations have seen the Hashemite kingdom as an island of moderation and relative stability in a stormy region.

    Trade and aid bolster those ties, as did Jordan's post-9/11 cooperation with Washington against terrorist groups.

    Jordan, along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, are seen as part of a Sunni coalition that the US is trying to build against Iran.

    Jordan, which has accepted nearly a million Iraqi refugees, has also been heavily involved in the training of Iraqi security forces.

    The US administration, in turn, has requested $245million in economic aid for Jordan and $206million in military aid for Jordan.

    "The US has acknowledged many times that the Jordanian intelligence forces are among the best in the region in terms of combating terrorism.

    "They have people on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and they have delivered vital and important information at critical times," said Braizat.

    Abdullah's father, King Hussein, addressed a joint session of the US Congress 13 years ago. 

    However the prospects for a final peace deal [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] have progressed little since then.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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