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Missing a U.S. deadline for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would harm regional stability, Jordan’s king said.

“It would be a serious mistake to miss the opportunities we have this year to establish, finally, a sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian state along with a secure and recognized Israel,” King Abdullah said Wednesday in an address to a conference of Nobel laureates in Jordan.

“The Middle East must move out of this threat zone. The single most important step is peace, a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

President Bush launched talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last year and has called for an accord to be in place before he steps down in January.

But the negotiations have been mired in mutual recrimination, with neither side voicing optimism on progress.

“Throughout Jordan, and across the region, millions of people want to be part of a stable, moderate, modern Middle East,” Abdullah said. “Long after today’s conflicts are history, their lives will be shaped by what we did this year to build the foundation for the region’s success.”

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