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Jordanian king to make two-state case with Obama

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jordanian King Abdullah II will press U.S. President Barack Obama to make Palestinian statehood a priority.

Abdullah is in Washington for his first meeting with Obama as president, to take place April 21.

Jordanian sources say the king sees the Obama administration’s emphasis on a two-state solution and on containing Israeli settlement expansion as very good signals.

The sources said Abdullah would reject the formula put forward by the new Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that would put Palestinian statehood on a back burner and instead emphasize Palestinian economic development.

Jordan is also not prepared to assume responsibility for the West Bank Palestinians, another formula Netanyahu promoted in years past — although he has not raised it since his return to the prime ministership.

The king met Friday with American Jewish, Muslim and Arab groups. In a statement, the Jordanian embassy said that Abdullah emphasized to Jewish groups the impoirtance of a two-state solution and recommended the "Arab Initiative," a land for peace formula introduced by the Arab League in 2002. Israel has been wary of the initiative in part because it is vague about the "right" of Palestinian refugees to claim residence in Israel.

An embassy statement said that the king in his meeting with Jewish leaders "emphasized the urgency of  resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict  on the basis of the two-state  solution that will guarantee security for Israel and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. He said the Arab Peace Initiative  offers a significant opportunity to reach a comprehensive peace that will meet  the legitimate rights of all parties and ensure normal relations for  Israel with all its Arab  neighbours."
 

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