Report: Netanyahu Met Jordan's King to Discuss Peace
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah II met in Jordan last week and discussed the Middle East peace process, a diplomatic source told AFP on Saturday. Israel has not confirmed the report.
"Last week, Netanyahu travelled to Jordan and met King Abdullah II," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "In the meeting, they discussed the Middle East peace process."
It was Netanyahu's first trip abroad and first meeting with a foreign head of state since Israel's January 22 general election, noted the report.
Reports in December said that Netanyahu and the king held a meeting that focused on Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been on hold since September 2010.
Last year, Jordan hosted talks between Israeli government negotiator Yitzchak Molcho and chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat, but the two sides made no progress.
Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have not met one on one for the past several years, because Abbas has refused to come to the negotiating table with Israel and has continuously tried to impose preconditions on talks.
One of his longstanding demands is that Israel accept the pre-1967 lines as final borders. He has also demanded that Israel release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin. At the same time, he has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
King Abdullah said in an interview in January that he expects to host talks between Israel and the PA soon. Abdullah said that a “window of opportunity” would open with U.S. President Barack Obama's second term, and it was necessary to take advantage of it.
During a recent meeting with a delegation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), King Abdullah warned that the stalemate in peace efforts between Israel and the PA and failure to revive the process would add to tensions in the Middle East and plunge the region into the unknown.
The latest talks between Netanyahu and the king come ahead of an expected visit by Obama, who announced he would be in the region in the spring, with Israeli media putting the date at March 20.
The White House has played down speculation Obama would present a new peace initiative during his visit, stressing instead as the trip's primary agenda Iran's nuclear challenge and the civil war threatening to tear Syria apart.