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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Warns Against a Substitute for President Arafat
Amman, 14 April 2002

His Majesty King Abdullah II, Sunday, warned against any attempt to bring in a substitute for Palestinian President Yasser Arafat or to marginalize the Palestinian legitimate leadership. Such an endeavour is a `conspiracy` against the Palestinian people and their just cause, King Abdullah said in an interview with MBC satellite channel.

`We, in Jordan, do not recognize any Palestinian leadership other than the elected one that is headed by brother Yasser Arafat, and we will support him with all our capabilities,؟ King Abdullah said.

The King reiterated Jordan`s total support with all its potentials to the Palestinian people and their great steadfastness and honorable struggle to liberate their land and establish their independent state on their national soil with Jerusalem as its capital.

His Majesty said from the start of the Israeli aggression, he personally and the Jordanian government started contacting the United States, the EU countries and the Arab world in a bid to halt the aggression. The Jordanian people expressed their support to Palestinian brethren in many ways, through blood donations, sending medical and relief supplies and through marches of protest, the King added.

In reply to a question on whether Israel is considering ousting the Palestinians to Jordan, King Abdullah said `I am sure the Palestinian people`s steadfastness and their legitimate leadership on the their land are greater and stronger than any conspiracy or any attempt to expel them.؟ `We, in Jordan, will stand firmly and strongly in face of any attempt to expel any Palestinian from his homeland under any circumstances,؟ King Abdullah said. This is a principled Jordanian stand which is in the interest of the Palestinians and Jordan as well, the King added.

`Jordan is the window for our Palestinian brothers under occupation,؟ and the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman or the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, as some people call for, would prompt the other party (Israel) to close the bridges and this means `we won`t be able to dispatch any aids or donations to our besieged brothers under occupation, thus increasing their suffering,؟ King Abdullah said.

The King noted the large number of demonstrations and marches that took place in various parts of the Kingdom over the past two weeks in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian brothers. However, few of those demonstrations were not authorized and police men were harmed and public and private properties were damaged during them, King Abdullah said.

`We are with the freedom of people to express their solidarity and support with our brothers under occupation.... but when a demonstration has become a means of sabotage and of attacking police and of instigating sedition between members of the one family, then it is our duty to stop all these forms of chaos,؟ King Abdullah said. On his recent talks with U.S. Secretary of States Colin Powell, the King said he asked the U.S. Administration to play a more effective role and to exercise further pressure on Israel to stop its aggression immediately and dismantle the siege on Palestinian towns and villages.

King Abdullah affirmed that the problem was basically political and not a security one and Israeli`s occupation of the Arab land was the major reason of the conflict in the region.