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Jordan king due in Ramallah for Abbas talks

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hosts Jordan's King Abdullah II in Ramallah after the successful Palestinian UN bid for non-member observer status

AFP , Thursday 6 Dec 2012
Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives to a meeting with members of the media in the West Bank city of Ramallah December 5, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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Jordan's King Abdullah II was due in Ramallah on Thursday to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the first visit by an Arab leader since the Palestinians won upgraded UN status.

The monarch was expected to arrive in Ramallah at around 0930 GMT, for talks likely to focus on the successful Palestinian bid for non-member observer state at the United Nations.

On Tuesday, Abbas's political adviser Nimr Hammad confirmed the king would be in Ramallah on Thursday "in the first visit by a top official to the Palestinian state after we received UN recognition."

"The visit will confirm Jordanian efforts and support for the Palestinian people and their leadership," Hammad told AFP.

King Abdullah's arrival comes just days after Abbas returned to the West Bank city for a triumphant rally celebrating the successful UN bid.

The 138-9 vote at the General Assembly was cheered by many Palestinians, although they acknowledged it will change little on the ground in the short term.

But the move was fiercely opposed by both Israel and the United States, with the Jewish state quickly announcing punitive measures in response.

It announced new settlement construction since the bid was approved, including in a highly sensitive West Bank area known as E1, where observers say Israeli construction would effectively end the chance of a viable Palestinian state.

Israel has also said it will withhold the tax and tariff revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority for the month of November, in response to the UN bid.

The Palestinians are expected to ask Arab League nations for additional funding to make up the shortfall in revenue. The cash-strapped Palestinian Authority is also facing the loss of US aid because of the move.

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