King calls for firm stand in face of
'limited agendas' proven disastrous

By Tareq Ayyoub

AQABA - His Majesty King Hussein on Wednesday warned that peacemaking in the Middle East is facing a "dangerous moment" and urged Israel and the Palestine National Authority (PNA) to overcome differences that impede peace between the two sides.

"We have two options. Either to move ahead as human beings, to make up for the time lost, to stand firmly in the face of limited agendas and ideas which have proven nothing but disastrous in our common past or to put an end to that immediately, so that we can restart peace," the King said in a joint press conference with Israel's Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

"The minority seeks to impose its will on the majority and deprive everybody of peace. The minority has succeeded so far to achieve part of its objectives in replacing hope with despair," the King added.

The King said that the Israeli prime minister's desire to make peace was "genuine" and described Mr. Netanyahu as a "peace partner" in the path to achieve a comprehensive and just peace in the region.

But the King stressed that the meeting with Mr. Netanyahu will not "resolve problems in a very dramatic way."

"I conveyed my concerns and he conveyed his. We had a very frank and open discussion and we both realize the danger of the moment and the need to do what is possible to overcome it," the King said following his talks with Mr. Netanyahu.

The King added that he will convey his impression to "our Palestinian brethren, to our American friends and friends around the world, of the conversation we have had today," His Majesty said.

Mr. Netanyahu, who arrived here with his Foreign Minister David Levy and Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon, said that Israel's closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip will continue until a PNA clamp down against Islamist groups.

"We would like to see a 100 per cent effort... what we would like to see is the fulfillment of the commitment to battle the terrorists, and as we see action, any action taken in that direction, we shall adjust and change our measures accordingly. By then, we could indeed bring an unexpected peace," Mr. Netanyahu said.

"We know that we cannot stop terrorism completely, but we expect a complete fight against terrorism as promised in Oslo (agreement)," said Mr. Netanyahu, who was accompanied by his advisor for terrorism, Meir Dagan, during his four-hour visit.

He said that he wants the PNA to follow the foot-steps of Jordan and Egypt in fighting terrorism to remove the "infrastructure of terrorist groups" in the PNA areas.

"There are terrorist people who are based in the Palestinian areas who provided the ammunition for the explosions and other assistance. Security cooperation is a key stone of the peace process but it must not be the only question on the negotiating table," Mr. Netanyahu said.

"We have differences in views with the Palestinians but my suggestion was and remains that we discuss these issues on the negotiating table," he said. "I think that our concern is that our ability to continue the process of negotiations and the progress towards peace could be very seriously impaired if the proper actions against additional terrorist attacks is not taken," said Mr. Netanyahu.

Prior to the expanded meeting between Jordanian and Israeli officials, the King held a closed-door meeting with Mr. Netanyahu.

Another meeting took place between His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan and Mr. Levy, which included Minister of Foreign Affairs Fayez Tarawneh, Minister of Trade, Industry and Supply Hani Mulki and Water and Irrigation Minister Munther Haddadin.

Dr. Tarawneh said that the Israeli prime minister had briefed the King on the outcome of the visit of U.S. Middle East special envoy Dennis Ross to Israel and Palestine.

Dr. Tarawneh said that Mr. Netanyahu informed the King of the agreement with the PNA to resume security coordination but noted that the problem of transferring $70 > million from Israel to the PNA has not been resolved yet.