His Majesty's Interview with French TV Channel 3

13 June 2002

His Majesty King Abdullah II expressed cautious optimism that US and the international community will act together to lay the base that would make Palestinians , Arabs and Israelis go ahead to achieve peace in the region. In an interview with 3rd French TV Channel, His Majesty stressed that the only people that can determine the Palestinians' future are the Palestinians themselves. This should be clear and understood by all, he said.

His Majesty affirmed that the situation on the ground is still very dull. The circle of violence is still there, and there is still Palestinian and Israeli victims alike, and it is clear that the Palestinian authority and Israeli government are still sticking to their stands, he said.

Responding to a question about equivocal Israeli stands calling for Jordan to be a substitute state for Palestinians, His Majesty said that there are two views, one of which says that Jordan is a substitute for Palestine, and this will never take place. We Jordanians know our history and we all solidly agree that Jordan will remain Jordan, His majesty clarified. As the international community knows, had it not been Jordan the situation in the Middle East would have been worse, He affirmed.

As for the second view which says that Jordan should control the West bank and Egypt control Gaza Strip, I say that any role for Jordan in the West bank will mean substitution of Israeli tank by a Jordanian one , and this will never take place, His Majesty said.

The King affirmed that the two views are unrealistic and we will never make them take place.

Concerning what US President can do to bring the peace process back to track, His Majesty said that for Palestinians there should be a viable state according to 242 and 338 resolutions, and for Israelis security and merging in the Middle East should be achieved.

Arabs have responded to the Israeli demands in Beirut summit few months ago, where they responded to all Israeli requests along the past decades, and we need now from the international community to make a step supportive to the future of the Palestinians, His Majesty added.

The King expressed his belief that the international community always realizes what is expected to push the two parties forward. I still believe that there is a chance this summer to call Israelis, and Palestinians, and Israelis and Arabs to a conference that would set the basis to push the region forward, and that US knows what is required and is collecting data and considering the situation, His Majesty said.

Responding to a question pertaining the Arab peace initiative, His Majesty stressed that the initiative has not passed away. We have to realize that all the series of initiatives, ideas and endeavors are for advancement, be it an American peace plan, Jordanian, Egyptian, or Saudi, all of them seek common interest and solving the issue, he said. There is nothing that can be described as death of peace, because this means to submit to despair and give up hope in future, he added.

All initiatives are advancement forward where next summer they will meet under one umbrella to set a new stage of making Palestinians and Israelis closer to each other, His Majesty said. Concerning Israeli Prime Minister's stand pertaining President Arafat, His Majesty said that there is clearly a strong opposition against Arafat from Prime Minister Sharon, and sure there are American and international community reservations, but we can not choose leaders of other peoples. President Arafat still represents a symbol of the Palestinian people and he is still their leader, and the only people that have the answer to this is the Palestinian people themselves, His Majesty said.

In this regard, His Majesty affirmed that we can not use leaders as a pretext for making no progress.