AMMAN - King Abdullah of Jordan will meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on April 21 to lobby on behalf of Arab states for a stronger U.S. role in Middle East peacemaking, palace officials said on Sunday.
They said the staunch U.S. ally, the first Arab leader to hold face-to-face talks in the White House since Obama took office in January, will urge him to do more to bring about a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.
The monarch will also convey Arab concerns about the prospects for peace under the right-leaning Israeli government led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said his priority is to focus on economic and security issues rather than negotiating core issues such as statehood, borders, and the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.
Diplomats said the monarch, backed by the Arab League and Arab allies of Washington in the region, will tell Obama that Arabs are still committed to an Arab peace initiative.
A palace official said the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority met the king on Saturday in Amman and officially asked him to convey the unified Arab position.
The Arab initiative, approved at an Arab summit in 2002, offers Israel peace and normal relations with all Arab countries in return for withdrawal from all land captured in the 1967 war.
Successive Israeli governments have either ignored or rejected the offer, which would require Israel to dismantle settlements which house hundreds of thousands of Jews.
Officials say the monarch will tell Obama that only a Palestinian state and an Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territory could end the spiral of violence and bring real security to Israel.