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      Jordanian King to Visit Ramallah to Help PA 'Establish State'

      Jordan's King Abdullah II is set to arrive in Ramallah on Thursday on his first visit since the PA was granted upgraded status at the UN.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 12/4/2012, 2:08 PM

      Jordan's King Abdullah meets with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
      Jordan's King Abdullah meets with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
      Reuters

      Jordan's King Abdullah is set to arrive in Ramallah on Thursday on the first visit of an Arab leader to the area since the Palestinian Authority was granted UN recognition as a non-member observer state.

      "King Abdullah will visit the state of Palestine the day after tomorrow, on Thursday, in the first visit by a top official to the Palestinian state after we received UN recognition," Nimr Hammad, political adviser to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmud Abbas, told AFP on Tuesday.

      "The visit will confirm Jordanian efforts and support for the Palestinian people and their leadership," Hammad added after assuming the status of "statehood" that the UN did not officially grant.

      Jordanian officials refused to confirm that the visit would take place on Thursday.

      "No date has been set," a top government official in Amman told AFP following the announcement.

      Earlier, another senior Jordanian government official confirmed that the monarch was planning a trip to the PA, without specifying the date.

      "The king will go to Ramallah soon and meet with Abbas there," he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

      "The visit seeks to reiterate Jordan's support for the Palestinians, build on their historic achievement at the United Nations and help them establish an independent state,” he added.

      The UN resolution, which was approved by a vote of 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, has granted the Palestinian Authority de facto status as a sovereign state based on its own territorial claims, thus enabling it to circumvent final status negotiations with Israel.

      The move will grant the PA access to a range of international organizations, including the International Criminal Court, which enables it to potentionally puruse “war crimes” charges against the state of Israel.

      The Jordanian king, who visited the PA-controlled territories last year, met Abbas in Amman on Sunday and described the UN vote "as a major step” in Arab aspirations.

      Abdullah paid his first visit to the area in May 1999, just months after being crowned king, meeting the late Yasser Arafat in Gaza. In April 2000, he made a first visit to Ramallah and returned four months later. 

      In November 2011, the king flew by helicopter to Ramallah for a brief stay of little more than two hours during which he held talks with Abbas ,who later dubbed the visit as "important and historic" but gave no further details.

      That visit came just ahead of a key summit between Abbas and exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in Cairo to cement a stalled unity deal between Fatah and Hamas.