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Globalization - Countries - Israeli-Palestinian Conflict see also Organizations

Jordan, Egypt Urge US Mideast Balance
By Sana Abdallah, UPI

AMMAN, Jordan, June 19 (UPI) -- Jordan and Egypt rejected Tuesday a reported U.S. plan for a provisional Palestinian state, saying international law did not allow for the creation of a temporary entity.

At a joint news conference, Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher and his Egyptian counterpart, Ahmad Maher, said they agreed on their "rejection of the establishment a provisional Palestinian state."

President Bush is expected to announce a foreign ministerial conference this summer to discuss the timeline and contours of the interim state, and needs support from his Arab allies for the plan to go through. Jordan and Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, are considered the closest U.S. allies in the region. Amman and Cairo are the only two Arab capitals to have peace deals with Israel.

Muasher said a Palestinian state should be established on the territories Israel captured from Jordanian control in 1967 and that "it should be permanent." He insisted: "There is nothing in international law that allows the establishment of any interim government."

Maher said a Palestinian state "should be permanent ... the Israeli occupation (should be) provisional."

A statement released Wednesday following a meeting between Jordan's King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said efforts to resolve the Mideast crisis "should be based on U.N. Security Council resolutions and should lead to establishing a viable Palestinian state."

Jordanian officials privately said Egypt was trying to persuade them to accept a compromise formula on a Palestinian state. Jordan has the longest border with Israel of any Arab state and has a substantial Palestinian population.

The formula at issue is that while the Arabs won't support a provisional state, they could be flexible on "temporary borders." Analysts said that could mean the Arabs -- Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia -- were ready to accept negotiations on the 1967 borders. Saudi Arabia conceived the Arab peace plan that was accepted at the Beirut, Lebanon, summit in March, which called for a complete Israeli withdrawal from all the territories captured in June 1967 and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Arabs would accord Israel "normal" relations in return.

Arab officials and diplomats have indicated the Arabs were willing to be "flexible on defining these borders in an effort to get this U.S. administration closer to our position."

Arab governments regard the Bush administration's Mideast policy as pro-Israel.

Maher also criticized Israel's retaking of Palestinian territories following Tuesday's suicide bomb in Jerusalem that killed 19 people.


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