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Source: Jordan
3 September 2007

King, Sarkozy say talks only way to Mideast peace
Monday, 03-Sep-2007 
Paris, 3/9/2007, (Communication & Information Division - Royal Hashemite Court) -- His Majesty King Abdullah and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday said that Israeli-Palestinian talks leading to a Palestinian state are the only way to Middle East peace.

At a meeting between King Abdullah and French President and in statements to the press following the talks, the two leaders also renewed support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his government's efforts to restore order.

King Abdullah, who returned home later Monday, described the recent meetings between Palestinian and Israeli leaders as "encouraging", expressing hope for serious efforts to build confidence between the two sides and make substantial changes in the status quo.

The King called for a more active role by France, saying the credibility the EU country enjoys in the Middle East enables it to help the Palestinians and Israelis take necessary steps ahead of the US-proposed international Mideast peace conference, expected in the fall. The conference, the King said, would yield tangible results if the two conflicting parties make the right moves.

Sarkozy said he appreciated the King's efforts to realize stability in the Middle East, adding that France will work to support these efforts and help bring closer the viewpoints of the Palestinians and Israelis.

Meanwhile, the King told Le Monde daily on Monday that Israel cannot live forever with the “fortress mentality”, and that it has to choose now between such a way of life and integration in the region.

King Abdullah reiterated the need to seize the opportunity of the peace conference, saying that a US intervention is essential for Mideast peace.

“Whether we like it or not, US intervention is needed when it comes to Israel and the peace process.”

His Majesty told the paper that he felt comfortable with the way Sarkozy views the Middle East issues.

On Lebanon, the King and the French president stressed the importance of preserving the independence and sovereignty of the country.

King Abdullah reiterated Jordan's commitment to help restore security, stability and unity in Iraq and support efforts seeking to realize national reconciliation.

Also Monday's talks in Paris covered bilateral ties between Jordan and France.

The King and Sarkozy discussed Jordan's debt to the Paris Club and the Kingdom's request to purchase debts it owes to the club's member states at lower prices.

The French president said France supports this request.

He also pledged help to Jordan in its efforts to acquire nuclear technology for power generation purposes. In this regard, a French team will visit the Kingdom soon to discuss several aspects of the issue.

The two leaders agreed to exchange visits between Jordanian and French officials to promote the investments and trade between the two countries.

During his visit to France, King Abdullah also met with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and French Minister of Defence Hervé Morin and discussed means to develop bilateral ties in economic, commercial, investment and military fields.

The King and Fillon reviewed efforts to enhance security and bring about stability in the Middle East, and the French and Jordanian role in helping parties concerned with the peace process to move forward.

King Abdullah also received at his residence in Paris former French president Jacques Chirac. During the meeting, the King voiced appreciation for Chirac's support for Jordan at the political and economic levels, especially in the field of swapping debts with investments during his presidency.

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