Israeli President Shimon Peres met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman today and discussed ways to restart stalled Middle East peace talks, the president’s office said in an e-mailed statement.
Abdullah’s meeting with Peres followed a trip last week to the West Bank city of Ramallah, where he met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The king stressed to Peres that Israel must stop settlement construction in the West Bank and “refrain from any measures that could change the features of Jerusalem, or affect Islamic or Christian holy places in the Holy City,” according to an e-mailed statement from the Jordanian Embassy in Washington.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in September 2010 after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to extend a 10-month building freeze in the West Bank and Abbas said he wouldn’t return to negotiations unless construction was halted.
Before Peres left for Jordan, he discussed with Netanyahu the importance of strengthening Israel’s ties with the Arab country, the president’s office said. Israel delayed the reconstruction of a ramp that leads to what the Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old City after Jordan and Egypt voiced concern the move could lead to unrest, Israel’s Channel Two television said yesterday, without saying where it got the information.
Peres told Abdullah that the only way to advance peace and reach a solution of “two states for two peoples” was through direct talks and not through appeals to the United Nations.
Abbas has asked the international body to recognize a Palestinian state.