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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Abdullah: Terrorists Using U.S. Mistakes

AMMAN, Jordan -- Jordan's King Abdullah II said Saturday terrorists were exploiting U.S. mistakes since the Sept. 11 attacks five years ago to promote instability in the Middle East, according to a published report.

Abdullah made the remarks in an interview with the pan-Arabic daily al-Hayat published on the day he and his wife, Queen Rania, left for a five-day visit to the United States, where he also is expected to address the U.N. General Assembly.

"The American reaction" to terror attacks had "contributed to the empowerment of terrorist groups," the king said in the interview. He did not elaborate.

In the wake of those attacks, extremists were "trying to drive a wedge between East and West and exploit American errors in the region in the interest of fostering hatred and division," Abdullah said.

The king predicted a "bleak future" for the Mideast if Israeli-Palestinian peace talks do not resume in the coming weeks, urging an immediate return to the negotiating table.

"I am warning that unless we start within the next weeks and months with a comprehensive negotiating process between the Palestinians and Israelis, resulting in the establishment of an independent and geographically contiguous Palestinian state within a specified time, then people of this region will have to live many more difficult years characterized by violence" he said.

The monarch said international attention must return to the root cause of the conflict.

"Israel cannot, and the region cannot enjoy security unless the Palestinians enjoy stability. It is high time to return to the root causes of the conflict and the core issue, which is the Palestinian issue," he said in the interview.

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