King Abdullah tells Obama ending Israeli 'occupation' of Palestinian land a priority. King's statement.

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Royal Hashemite Court
Media and Communication Directorate

Amman (22 July 2008) - His Majesty King Abdullah II stressed during talks this evening with US Senator Barack Obama (Democrat, Illinois) that ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and achieving a just settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict tops the priorities of the people of the Middle East.

During the meeting, King Abdullah reasserted the need to establish an independent Palestinian state on all Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza, saying it is the key to a final settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Obama, a US presidential candidate, is in Amman as part of a tour of the Middle East and Europe. He is accompanied by Senator Jack Reed (Democrat, Rhode Island) and Senator Chuck Hagel (Republican, Nebraska).

The King told Obama that continued American support for a Middle East peace process that leads to a just and comprehensive peace would help foster Arab-US relations and bolster US credibility in the region. The King said that the US Congress also can play an important role in regional peace-making.

During the meeting, King Abdullah outlined Jordan's position in support of the rights of the Palestinian people to liberation and independence through the establishment of an independent state that preserves the Palestinian identity. He also emphasized Jordan's support for the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel on final status issues.

The King also said the support of the US Congress is central to alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people and to strengthening Palestinian national institutions. Such support, he said, would reflect positively on the entire peace process.

He warned that the Israeli settlement policy and Israel's imposition of new realities on the ground, along with the siege on the Palestinian people would exacerbate conflict and undermine peace efforts.

During the meeting with Senator Obama which was followed by a dinner hosted by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania for Senator Obama and the accompanying delegation, the King also addressed the situation in Iraq. He emphasized Jordan's support for Iraq's security and stability and said there recently had been positive indications of opportunities to achieve comprehensive national reconciliation that would have a positive bearing on the reconstruction and development of Iraq.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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