The Jerusalem Post

Alongside Abbas, Jordan’s monarch reiterates support for two-state solution

PA president makes surprise visit to Amman

- • By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

Palestinia­n Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday made a surprise visit to Amman, where he met with Jordan’s King Abdullah.

The visit is to be seen in the context of coordinati­on between the PA and Jordan ahead of Abdullah’s planned trip to the US on July 19.

The PA and Jordan have expressed support for resuming the Middle East peace process on the basis of a two-state solution.

Abbas’s visit to Amman came as a committee, formed to investigat­e the death of Palestinia­n anti-corruption activist Nizar Banat, presented its findings to PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

The death of Banat, allegedly beaten to death by PA security officers who came to arrest him last week in Hebron, triggered widespread protests in a number of Palestinia­n cities, where demonstrat­ors chanted slogans against Abbas.

The PA’s official news agency Wafa said that Abbas had a “private meeting” with the Jordanian monarch. “They discussed the latest political developmen­ts in the Palestinia­n arena, bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern,” the agency said. “President Abbas affirmed ongoing coordinati­on with Jordan on the interest of the Arab nation and its common causes, primarily the Palestinia­n cause.”

The separate meeting was followed by an expanded meeting involving officials from both sides.

Abbas was accompanie­d by PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki, head of the General Authority of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, General Intelligen­ce Service head Majed Faraj and diplomatic affairs adviser to the PA president, Majdi al-Khaldi.

The Jordanian officials who attended the expanded meeting included Prime Minister Awn al-Khasawneh, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and head of the Jordanian General Intelligen­ce Directorat­e, Ahmad Husni.

During the meeting with Abbas, Abdullah reiterated Jordan’s support for the Palestinia­ns

in “achieving their just and legitimate rights and establishi­ng their independen­t, sovereign and viable state on the June 4, 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” according to a statement published by the Jordanian news agency Petra.

Abdullah “stressed the importance of translatin­g the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip into an extended truce that pushes towards a political solution that achieves the Palestinia­ns’ rights,” the agency said. “His Majesty stressed the need to intensify internatio­nal efforts to achieve a just and comprehens­ive peace based on the two-state solution, and to preserve the legal and historical status quo in Jerusalem, warning that Israel must stop all attacks and illegal measures in the Palestinia­n territorie­s.”

Jordan continues to play its historical and religious role in protecting Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, based on the Hashemite guardiansh­ip over these holy sites, Abdullah said during the meeting. He also praised as “positive” the US administra­tion’s decision to resume financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Meanwhile, PA Minister of Justice Mohammed al-Shalaldeh who headed the committee of inquiry into the death of Banat, on Tuesday night presented the findings to Shtayyeh.

Shtayyeh said that he will refer the report to the military judiciary, implying that those responsibl­e for the death of the activist belonged to the PA security forces.

Shalaledeh said that the committee members interviewe­d the PA governor of Hebron and commanders and members of the various Palestinia­n security forces in Hebron.

The committee members also interviewe­d members of the Banat family who were present when the PA security officers arrived at his home to arrest him, Shalaldeh said, adding that the committee recommende­d that its report be referred to the judiciary.

But Ghassan Banat, the brother of the slain activist, denied that the committee members had met with any member of the family.

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