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Jordanian King Concerned About Possible Palestinian PM's Resignation - 2004-07-18


Jordan's King Abdullah says he hopes Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia does not resign.

Speaking on CNN's Late Edition, Jordan's King Abdullah said he thinks Prime Minister Qureia's resignation could hurt efforts toward a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"If Abu Ala gives up on Monday, as is a possibility, then this will be a serious blow to all of us that are trying to push the process forward," said King Abdullah. "And, I think, will reflect very negatively on President Arafat himself."

Palestinian Prime Minister Qureia submitted his resignation Saturday, amid a worsening security situation in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has declined to accept the resignation.

Jordan's King Abdullah decried the recent violence in Gaza, saying it underscores the need to strengthen Palestinian security and government institutions.

"And I think, maybe, what's happening in Gaza, as maybe a street reaction, will hopefully be a wake-up call to many of those in Palestinian institutions of government, that they need to address these problems, and address them now," he emphasized.

King Abdullah said his country is closely watching Egypt's efforts to help restore security to Gaza. "Depending on how successful that is, then, there may be a discussion on what Jordan can provide in helping provide training to Palestinian security forces," King Abdullah added.

Under the auspices of the United Nations, Jordan helped train Palestinian policemen from the West Bank in the early 1990's.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah said, he thinks a new national unity government under negotiation in Israel could potentially have a positive effect on the international peace plan for the Middle East, known as the Road Map.

"If the formation of a new [Israeli] government allows more interaction between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the rest of us in the international community, to move the Road Map along, obviously, that would be a positive thing," he said. "But we have to wait and see, and keep our fingers crossed."

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