The Jordan Times
June 6, 2008 - 2:53pm

His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday warned that continued Israeli settlement policies threaten Palestinian rights to an independent state.

During talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street, King Abdullah said achieving peace and living in security and stability in the region will not be realised through settlement construction or by ignoring historic rights of the Palestinian people.

The Monarch stressed the need to build on international efforts during the past few months to advance the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis.

He called on the UK to intensify its efforts within the European Union and the international community to support Palestinians and Israelis in reaching a peace agreement which addresses final status issues.

King Abdullah said ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and meeting Palestinian aspirations for freedom and independence are the only means to build a secure and stable Middle East.

The Monarch commended British efforts to assist the Palestinian National Authority in improving the Palestinians' living conditions.

The talks also addressed the situation in Lebanon following the agreement among Lebanese political factions to elect a new president and begin negotiations to form a new government.

The two sides also discussed Iraq and the government's efforts to foster security and stability in the country.

King Abdullah and Brown also discussed bilateral issues and ways to develop ties, especially in the economic field.

The Monarch expressed appreciation of British support for Jordan's recent efforts to buy back part of its debt to the Paris Club.

King Abdullah and Her Majesty Queen Rania are on a several-day working visit to the UK.

On Wednesday, the Monarch was awarded an honorary degree from Oxford University.

The Doctor of Civil Law by Diploma, presented to King Abdullah by Lord Patten of Barnes, the university chancellor, is the highest honorary degree awarded to foreign heads of state by the university.

Addressing Oxford faculty, staff and students, as well as London-based diplomats, King Abdullah said Europe, especially the United Kingdom, can make a critical contribution to conflict resolution, as honest brokers in negotiations, as sources of security support and as investors in the Palestinian economy.

Also on Wednesday, King Abdullah accepted an honorary fellowship from Pembroke College, where he studied for a year, and toured the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS), an institution dedicated to scholarly understanding of Islam and Islamic culture.

During the tour, OCIS Director Farhan Nizami briefed the Monarch on the centre’s role in building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Islamic and Western nations as well as work currently under way to complete building the centre, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

In an interview with Petra, Nizami referred to the Amman Message, launched by King Abdullah in 2004, describing it as one of the most important initiatives in the Islamic world.

The OCIS, an academic centre associated with Oxford University was established in 1985 to encourage the scholarly study of Islam and the Islamic world. It has been working to promote the world’s understanding of Islam through enhancing international cooperation and organising specialised seminars, programmes and cultural conferences.



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