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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Interviewed by the US CBS News
Amman, 23 April 2003

His Majesty King Abdullah II affirmed that if the current situation in Iraq continues as it is, and progress is not achieved on the Palestinian-Israeli issue, skeptics in the Arab world will say that the Americans came to the region for the sake of oil, and that they are not interested in the Middle East and are supporting Israel without giving any attention to the Palestinians.

In an interview with the US CBS News, the King warned that, unless a solution is found for the Palestinian issue, we will all, including the west, pay the price.

His Majesty noted concerns of Arabs towards what is happening in the region, stressing the need for the west to understand the Palestinian-Israeli issue which is still the core issue.

In response to a question on Iraq and challenges of the coming stage, the King said that "after the coalition forces achieved victory in this war, the most important thing now is to achieve peace."

His Majesty stressed the need for selecting Iraqi leaders, leaders of the Iraqi society and members of the previous government who were not necessarily part of the previous regime but served their country.

On the Iraqi opposition supported by the US, the King expressed belief that the Iraqi people will have closer ties with Iraqi leaderships from inside Iraq, and who faced the same suffering over a period that extended to 20 to 30 years. "Although the Iraqi opposition will have a role, it will be a minor one," he added.

King Abdullah stressed the importance of the unity of Iraq, indicating that the division of Iraq will have negative impact on both Iraq and the whole region. "If we do not ensure the unity of Iraq, many problems will emerge in the Middle East," he added.