Jordan King Hopes Obama Visit Revives Mideast Peace
(AFP) - King Abdullah II of Jordan said on Saturday that he hoped the visit of US President Barack Obama to Israel and the West Bank later this month will offer a momentum to the Mideast peace process.
"We are looking forward to welcoming President Obama in Jordan soon. And I hope to see real momentum in the peace process after his visit, a strategic national interest for both our countries," the king said in an address to Jordanian and American businessmen at a meeting in Amman.
Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have been deadlocked for more than two years.
The Palestinians insist on renewing talks in tandem with a freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, while Israel says there should be no preconditions.
Obama is set to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah during his March 20-22 visit, the first foreign policy mission of his second term. He will also visit Jordan.
But US officials say he will not launch a Mideast peace initiative during the trip.
On Thursday, Obama met American Jewish community leaders at the White House and said there would be no big Middle East peace initiative on the table.
A US official said "the president noted that the trip is not dedicated to resolving a specific policy issue, but is rather an opportunity to consult with the Israeli government about a broad range of issues -- including Iran, Syria, the situation in the region, and the peace process."
On Saturday, Abdullah also talked of the "landmark parliamentary elections" held earlier this year in Jordan.
"A consultative process was launched to choose the next prime minister, and our first pilot parliamentary government will be in place soon," he said.
"Reform, like democracy, is always work in progress."
The elections were boycotted by the opposition Muslim Brotherhood which believes that such reforms do not lead to real democracy.
More than five weeks after the resignation of premier Abdullah Nsur, no new government has been appointed.