Jordan king urges Netanyahu to remove "obstacles" blocking peace
Jordan's King Abdullah II on Wednesday night urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to live up to his commitment to peace by removing "obstacles" that impede the resumption of direct talks with the Palestinians, dpa reported.
The monarch's remarks came during a telephone conversation that was initiated by Netanyahu, according to a royal court statement.
"The monarch underlined the need for translating the commitment to peace into a practical action, by removing all obstacles that block the achievement of the two-state solution as the only way for achieving security and stability in the region," the statement said.
The Palestinians withdrew from US-sponsored direct talks with Israel at the end of September, citing the Israeli government's failure to extend a moratorium on the building of settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which Israel seized from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war.
The monarch urged the parties to refrain from wasting more time, saying they should immediately enter into "serious and effective negotiations in accordance with the agreed references in order to address all final status issues as soon as possible."
He pointed out that the talks should lead to the establishment of "an independent Palestinian state that lives in peace with Israel."
"The continuation of the present stalemate will jeopardize the region's stability and security," King Abdullah said.
In a parallel Jordanian effort, King Abdullah is sending his Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Thursday to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian leaders, apparently to encourage them to return to the negotiating table, officials said.
Israeli national security chief Uzi Arad visited Jordan secretly on December 27 and met with Judeh, who told Parliament on Wednesday that the discussions had dealt with chances of reviving the deadlocked peace process.