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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Abdullah Returns Home
Amman, 20 September 2003

Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah returned home after a five-day official visit to the USA, which was culminated in holding a Jordanian-American Summit in Camp David last Thursday between His Majesty King Abdullah II and US president George Bush.

During his talks with Bush, American officials and members of the US Congress, the King affirmed the importance for the USA to swiftly move to resume the peace process, stressing the fact that the Palestinian cause is the core of the conflict in the Middle East, and that finding a just solution for it, that leads to the termination of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state, will result in ending the region's problems.

During his meetings with American officials and American mass media, the King warned against the danger of announcing the demise of the roadmap, for this will be a waste of time and a loss for the Palestinians who are losing everyday a part of their hope in establishing an independent and viable state as a result of Israel's continuation in implementing the separation fence.

In a joint press conference with president Bush, held prior the summit, in his meetings with representatives of the Arab, Islamic and American Jewish organizations and in his press statements, the King warned that the time is passing quickly, noting that this creates serious threats for the peace process, a fact which requires a serious work by all the concerned parties to put the peace process back on its proper track and guarantee a speedy implementation of the first stage of the roadmap which Jordan made huge contribution to especially with regard to its formulation and promotion last year.

In an interview with journalists and editors of the Washington Post, the King stressed the need for a clear commitment to what should be done by the Palestinians and Israelis.

"We need a powerful international mechanism to specify the areas in which both sides do not exert enough efforts" he added During his meetings, the King affirmed that the US shouldn't stop its involvement in the peace process, because this is useless especially with regard to an issue that forms a central one in the Middle East.

He added that it is time now to re-launch the peace process and achieve peace objectives. King Abdullah called on representatives of the Arab and Islamic organizations in the first day of his visit, to play a role in defending the Islamic issues with the US administration and public opinion, and to rally support for the Palestinian prime minister to enable him to perform his duty in implementing the roadmap and help the Palestinian National Authority to control the security situation.

On the peace process, Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said during a meeting with members of the Arab Press Club in Washington on Friday, that the US position towards the Palestinian president Yasser Arafat is not new and Jordan-even if it was against such position just like other Arab countries, the EU and the rest of the world- is looking for a way to overcome this obstacle and achieve progress in the peace process with a view to end the Israeli occupation and establish a Palestinian state.

"The US administration understands Jordan's position regarding the dangers that will result from constructing the separation fence and it is exerting serious efforts with Israel in this regard. "However, the US insists that Palestinians solve the security issue before moving to pressure Israel in order to stop the construction of the settlements and the assassinations.

Jordan, he said, forwarded during its talks with the US administration proposals to translate the first stage of the road map into commitments with specific timetables for the Palestinian and the Israelis to ensure that both sides live up to their commitments.

On the results of His Majesty's visits to the US, the foreign minister said that King Abdullah plays an important role in convincing president Bush of the roadmap and including the Arab initiative in it as a basis for solution. "These visits come up with results but change needs more than visits," he said, noting that Jordan moves through full coordination with Arab countries.

On Iraq, Muasher said that The US administration told Jordan that it rejects any talk on federation on the bases of religion or race, noting that both sides have identical views on the need to have a strong central Iraqi government elected in a democratic way and is able to preserve the unity of the Iraqi lands.

Muasher added that the US administration believes in the importance of having a political process that leads to the formulation of a constitution and the establishment of an elected Iraqi government.

"The US understands the need to give the security responsibilities to the Iraqis and seeks a bigger role for the UN in Iraq," he said, adding that an international resolution is expected to be finalized over the coming weeks to increase the role of the UN in Iraq. "Jordan wants to have Iraqi elections under the umbrella of the UN to ensure that they would be transparent and free," he added.

On the outcome of the visit at the level of bilateral relations, Jordanian Ambassador to Washington Karim Qu'war said that the visit was fruitful and that the American Administration appreciates the Jordanian performance in economic and social development.

The Royal agenda was full of the meetings that are part of the King's efforts to enhance the living standard of citizens.

In this regard the King affirmed, during his meetings with a number of American businessmen and representatives of communications and information technology sector in Virginia, that in spite of the Jordan's hard circumstances, it is determined to develop its competitive capabilities through investing in Jordanians to join the world economy, and encouraging foreign investments and partnerships between the Jordanian and world companies to secure more work opportunities, to transfer knowledge and to encourage research and development.

As American assistance to Jordan plays an important role in carrying out reform programs, the King reviewed the Jordanian financial requirements for implementing development plans in the next year.

It is expected that during the next few weeks, the US Senate would approves the annual assistance to Jordan which amount to $ 450 million, $ 250 million of which is economic assistance and the rest is a military assistance for the next fiscal year.

The American assistance to Jordan during the current year reached US$ 1.5 billion and it came as a recognition of the negative impact of the war on Iraq on the Jordanian economy, and as a US commitment to help its friends, US Ambassador to Jordan Edward Gnehm said.

In an interview with Jordan News Agency, Gnehm said that the US will be a good partner to Jordan. He also added that the US supports the King's efforts in the development and reform, particularly with regard to His Majesty's interest in the human rights, press freedom and the parliamentary life.

The ambassador described His Majesty as a dynamic leader who is concerned in developing his nation's life.

Gnehm also supported the Jordanian view which affirms that time is not a helping factor in the peace process. "Therefore all parties should move to achieve the necessary solutions which are stipulated in the roadmap," he said.