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Hussein Tells Canadian Parliament Israel is the Obstacle to Peace

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King Hussein of Jordan told a joint session of the Canadian Parliament on Wednesday that “Israel’s unwillingness to cede to Palestinians the Arab territories occupied by force in the 1967 war is the one remaining obstacle to a just peace” in the Middle East.

Hussein, here on a seven-day state visit, is the first Arab leader and the first head of a non democratic regime ever to address the assembled members of the House of Commons and Senate.

He was invited to do so by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who praised the monarch for his efforts to bring peace to his region. Mulroney is scheduled to visit Jordan and Israel next year.

President Chaim Herzog of Israel addressed a joint session of Parliament when he visited Canada last spring.

Hussein maintained there was no need for further Palestinian concessions to move the peace process forward because “the Palestine Liberation Organization, led by its chairman, Yasir Arafat, has met all the prerequisites and requirements to achieve a peaceful settlement.”

The king accused the Likud-Labor coalition government in Israel of attempting to “mire the peace process in an effort to forestall the moment of decision.”

But Hussein made no reference to an independent Palestinian state in the course of his address.

While Hussein spoke of Israel’s alleged “nuclear arsenal and other weapons of mass destruction,” he did not mention the chemical weapons stockpiled by Arab states and widely used by Jordan’s close ally Iraq against Iran and against its own Kurdish population, according to a statement issued by the Canada-Israel Committee.

The statement also noted that the king’s explanation of the Middle East conflict omitted its historical context.

He ignored, for example, the fact that Israel’s administration of the West Bank was the result of Jordan’s attack on Israel in 1967, the Canada-Israel Committee said.

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