Rice holds meetings in Jordan

King Abdullah urges US to step up its involvement in Middle East peace process.

    The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to the peace process in Jerusalem [EPA]

    "The people of the region are looking towards Washington continuing to play a major role in the peace process by creating the necessary environment for a resumption of negotiations on the basis of the two state solution outlined in the Arab peace initiative and the Middle East roadmap," the palace statement said.

    Arab initiative
    The Arab initiative, launched in 2002, would have traded diplomatic recognition for Israel's withdrawal from land it occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

    After Monday's summit with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, Rice told a news conference that the two sides had reaffirmed their commitment to peace and previous agreements.

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    "All three of us affirmed our commitment to a two-state solution and agreed that a Palestinian state cannot be born of violence and terror," Rice said.

    "I also want the Quartet to play a political role. I plan to sit and strategise with them about how we do that."
    The Quartet has demanded that the Palestinian government recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept previous peace accords in exchange for restoring foreign aid to the Palestinian territories.

    Abbas argued on Monday that the unity government deal reached with the ruling Hamas party includes implicit recognition of these conditions and formally authorises him to negotiate with Israel.

    The Palestinian president met King Abdullah on Tuesday before a trip to Europe to garner support for the unity government.
    He acknowledged for the first time that Monday's sessions in Jerusalem with Olmert and Rice had been "tense and difficult", but said the trilateral meeting "was not a failure and it will be followed by other meetings."

    'Diplomatic efforts'
    King Abdullah also spoke to Olmert by telephone calling on Israel to "contribute to reviving the peace process with the Palestinians and overcome all the obstacles".
    However, David Chater, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Amman, said that "nothing concrete came from this meeting in Jordan.


    "The meeting tried to create a political horizon, but instead underlined the fact that there was no political horizon."


    Only the "promotion of dialogue" came
    out of Rice's meeting in Jordan [EPA]

    Timing with her trip to Jordan, Rice had invited security and intelligence chiefs from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates for talks.
    Tuesday's session at the government security headquarters in Amman included some of the region's best-connected heavies, fixers and go-betweens, including Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser, and Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian intelligence head.

    Speaking after the summit at a meeting with politicians from his Kadima Party, Olmert said he would maintain contact with Abbas, despite his dissatisfaction with the incoming unity government.
    Olmert said: "We have to maintain a channel of communications with the Palestinians, and the only possible conduit is the Palestinian president."
    It was the first meeting between Palestinian and Israeli leaders and a senior US official since June 2003.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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