Jordan's King Abdullah says solving Jerusalem dispute 'key to peace in Middle East' as Arab Summit opens

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Apr 2018

King Abdullah II of Jordan attends the 28th Summit of the Arab League at the Ithra center in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia, on April 15, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Sunday at the opening of the 29th Arab Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that solving the Palestinian-Israeli dispute over Jerusalem is "key to peace" in the Middle East.

Leaders from Arab countries are set to deliver short statements during the opening session of the summit.

The King of Jordan, which hosted the last Arab summit in Amman last year, transferred the chairmanship in this summit to Saudi Arabia's King Salman Bin Abdel-Aziz.

Jordan has rejected US President Donald Trump's recent decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby formally recognising the latter as the Israeli capital. Jordan has insisted that East Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state in a two-state solution to the conflict.

In his statement, Abdullah also warned that more than five million Palestinian refugees in the region will be negatively affected if the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) fails to provide them with aid.

The US administration recently froze two $100-million planned payments, one for the UNRWA central budget and the other for food aid, which has been widely considered as an attempt by Trump to pressure the Palestinian Authority after its decision to boycott is administration over his Jerusalem decision.

King Abdullah also congratulated Iraq for its "victory over terrorism," stressing the need to "back the military victory with a political process" that includes all segments of Iraqi society.  

In December 2017, the Iraqi government of Haider Al-Abadi declared final victory over the terrorist group Daesh, an announcement that came three years after the latter seized roughly one-third of Iraq's territories.

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