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Resolving Israeli-Palestinian Dispute Will Not Solve Mideast’s Problems, Jordan's Planning Minister Says - 2004-05-07

Jordan's planning minister said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute will not by itself solve the region's problems. However, he said it would create a more stable atmosphere in which to address those problems.

Bassem Awadallah accompanied Jordan's King Abdullah here to Washington. Meeting with reporters late Thursday, Mr. Awadallah distanced the Palestinian question from issues which affect the entire Middle East.

?The Palestinian issue does not have anything to do with the empowerment of women in certain parts of the Arab world,? he said. ?It has nothing to do with that. So when we speak about the empowerment of women, that is an issue that needs to be addressed. When we speak about the educational system, that is an issue that needs to be addressed. Yes, the resolution of the Palestinian question will deprive certain regimes in our region of using the Palestinian question as?or the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict? as an excuse for not going ahead with the reforms. It would offer us a much more stable political regional environment to talk about issues of sustainable development and human development, and competitiveness, of course.?

Jordan's Planning Minister, Bassem Awadallah spoke with reporters in Washington Thursday.