Jordan's King Abdullah has warned that failure to create an independent Palestinian state this year would be a "serious mistake."

King Abdullah told a conference of 29 Nobel prize laureates in the Jordanian city of Petra Wednesday that the Middle East must move out of what he called a "threat zone."  He said doing so would require a comprehensive settlement of the "Arab-Israeli conflict."

The king said dangers remain, including extremism, which feeds on violence and frustration.  But he said it would be wrong to miss the opportunity to establish a sovereign and viable Palestinian state along with a secure and recognized Israel before the year ends.

Participants at the two-day conference in Petra include Israeli President Shimon Peres and Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.  They are also expected to discuss the global food crisis and economic development.

Arab and African leaders, including Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, also are attending the conference.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.