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Abdullah talks down confederation talk

Jordanian King Abdullah dismissed talk of a Jordanian-Palestinian federation as a “conspiracy” against both peoples. “We refuse the notion of confederation or federation,” King Abdullah said in an interview published Sunday in Al-Ghad, a Jordanian newspaper. “This proposal at this stage is a conspiracy against both Palestine and Jordan. Our position is clear and principled. We cannot accept these solutions, no matter what the pressures are.” Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Israeli opposition Likud Party, in recent days has been touting such a confederation to U.S. and European leaders. A Likud predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir, did all he could to scuttle exactly the same formula 20 years ago. Jordanians reject talk of a confederation as premature, seeing it as a way for Israel to rid itself of responsibility for the Palestinians without making defined territorial concessions. Abdullah said a confederation was not out of the question after Palestinian statehood was declared. “As for the future relationship with Palestine, it’s premature to discuss it,” he said. “This will only be done after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian soil. The Jordanian and Palestinian people will decide the form of this relationship. Jordanians refuse any settlement of the Palestinian issue at their expense.”