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King discusses Mideast, Syria with UK officials, lawmakers

By JT - Dec 12,2012 - Last updated at Dec 12,2012

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday said the Arab Spring presented an opportunity for Jordan to press ahead with reforms and develop various sectors, according to a Royal Court statement.

During a meeting with representatives of the Houses of Commons and Lords at the British parliament in London, the King said the steps taken by the Kingdom pave the way for the development of political and partisan life, in addition to engaging the people in the decision-making process.

His Majesty stressed the importance of the youths’ role in the reform process, and engaging them in political action and the upcoming parliamentary elections, slated for January 23.

The King said that he envisions institutionalised partisan work, so that it is based on clear programmes and processes that address daily life issues and challenges faced by the people, including education, health and unemployment.

Discussions also covered the Middle East peace process, and prospects of reaching a lasting and just peace based on the two-state solution.

The King said Jordan will continue to work with the UK, the US and other international and regional powers to bring both the Israelis and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

During the meeting, the King warned of the consequences of the Syrian crisis on the entire region, urging a solution that would spare the Syrians further suffering.

He also pointed to the burdens shouldered by Jordan due to hosting a large number of the Syrian refugees, currently more than 250,000.

British parliament members said that they appreciated His Majesty’s efforts, and his continuous work to achieve peace and stability in the region.

In remarks to the Jordan News Agency, Petra, House of Commons Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans said that His Majesty has provided the full picture of the situation in the Middle East and the challenges Jordan is facing, especially regarding the growing burden of hosting an increasing number of Syrian refugees.

Evans stressed the need for Britain, and the rest of the international community, to extend more support to Jordan in this regard.

He said that he values the deep relations between Jordan and Britain, and that he appreciated the moderate policies of Jordan in the turbulent Middle East.

Chair of British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Richard Ottaway said that the UK, as a permanent member of the Security Council, plays an important role in the Middle East.

He said that Britain is actively participating in supporting countries in the region during their transition to democracy, highlighting his country’s strong ties with Jordan.

The lawmaker said that reforms in Jordan are going in the right direction, pointing to the importance of the parliamentary elections in strengthening the democratic approach in the Kingdom.

Also on Wednesday, His Majesty met with Prince Charles and discussed bilateral relations and means to develop them.

They discussed the situation in the Middle East and the latest developments regarding the Syrian crisis.

HRH Prince Ghazi, chief adviser to the King for religious and cultural affairs and the King’s personal envoy, attended the meeting.

His Majesty also met separately with Mayor of London Roger Gifford and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

In the two meetings, also attended by Prince Ghazi, discussions covered mutual ties and interfaith dialogue.

The King discussed bilateral ties with Gifford and they mulled ways to develop them within an economic and cultural framework.

During his meeting with Archbishop Williams, King Abdullah highlighted efforts to encourage interfaith dialogue, emphasising the importance of tolerance and communication to serve humanity all around the world.

They also discussed the current situation in Jerusalem and Israel’s unilateral measures that threaten Islamic and Christian sites.

Archbishop Williams praised Jordan’s efforts in safeguarding the Islamic and Christian identity of Jerusalem. 

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