His Majesty King Abdullah II Receives US Peace Envoy Burns

30 November 2001

His Majesty King Abdullah II warned today against any partial implementation of the Mitchell `s and Tenet `s plans that will hinder U.S. efforts to reach a ceasefire between Palestinians and Israelis.

His Majesty`s comments were voiced during a meeting with US peace envoy William Burns on Friday in Amman who briefed the King on the talks he held along with other U.S. envoy Ret. Gen. Anthony Zinni with Palestinian and Israeli leaders in the past days to push them into a sustainable ceasefire.

The King voiced hope that US efforts led by Assistant Secretary of State Burns and Ret. Gen. Zinni succeed in reaching an immediate ceasefire and a rapid implementation of the Mitchell Report and Tenet`s plan, pointing out that the peace sought by Palestinians and Arabs implies restoring Palestinian rights including the right to an independent state on their national soil.

In statements to Jordan News Agency, Petra, after the meeting Burns affirmed that the ultimate goal sought by the US is to establish a Palestinian and Israeli states living side by side.

He affirmed that no one has illusions in this regard because it is a very difficult process, but "we have to start" and the two parties have to make difficult choices to reach a ceasefire and live by it.

The US envoy pointed out to a development in the Palestinian and Israeli stands, who now realize after 14 months of violence that both have suffered enough.

Burns repeated what US Secretary of State said that the US is determined to do its best to help Palestinians and Israelis to reach a ceasefire as a first step and then the rapid implementation of the Mitchell`s and Tenet`s plans and resume the political process to establish a Palestinian and Israeli states.

He pointed out that his country has an important role to play in encouraging the two parties to return to the political process and contribute actively to a third party monitoring mechanism which can play a useful role in holding both parties to account when they make obligations and commitments but "we can go only as far as the two parties themselves want us to."

Burns said that the tour which he and Gen. Zinni took in the West Bank "gave us an opportunity to see the difficulties that Palestinians living under occupation face," pointing out that "50 per cent of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza live beneath the poverty line and it is a reminder to all of us of the real sense of urgency to move forward so that Palestinians and Israelis can feel secure and feel economic growth."