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Powell, Jordan FM Discuss Mideast 'Road Map' - 2003-09-16


Secretary of State Colin Powell met his Jordanian counterpart Marwan Muasher Tuesday to lay groundwork for talks later this week between President Bush and Jordan's King Abdullah. They'll discuss ways to revive the international "road map" to an Israel-Palestinian peace accord.

Though the road map is behind schedule and side-tracked by Israeli Palestinian violence, the Jordanian foreign minister says the peace plan is not dead and still provides a viable route to a two-state Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

In a talk with reporters after meeting Secretary of State Powell, Mr. Muasher said the road map remains an "excellent framework" leading to peace within three years, provided there is a strict monitoring procedure by the international community to make sure that both parties keep their commitments.

He said the effort by U.S. envoy John Wolf to monitor compliance with the road map's security terms does not go far enough.

"We believe that monitoring has to extend beyond just security monitoring and it has to extend to all the phases of the road map including the political phases," Mr. Muasher said. "Right now, we need to address the security situation, there is no question about it. We also need to address other aspects, like Israeli withdrawal, the stopping of settlements, the stopping of the security wall. All this needs monitoring as well. And all this needs, also, a clear time-line so we make sure that these commitments are being met."

Mr. Muasher also said Israel's threat to send Palestinian Authority chief Yasser Arafat into exile is "the wrong move" and will not lead to any advances or progress in the peace process.

Jordan's King Abdullah will meet President Bush and Secretary Powell on Thursday.

Mr. Powell goes to New York for a meeting on Monday with the other principals of the diplomatic "quartet" on the Middle East, which drafted the road map and released it to parties in April.

The meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly will be the first for the "quartet" the United States, Russia, European Union and the United Nations since a gathering in Jordan in late June.