AFP INTERVIEW: Jordan´s King Abdullah warns against partition of Iraq (AFP-FRANCE PRESSE) AMMAN 01/27/05 12:32 PM ET)
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AMMAN (AFP) - Jordan´s King Abdullah II warned against the risks of
Iraq being partitioned and said elections were the best way to
restore stability to the country, in an interview with AFP.
"I have cautioned against efforts by certain parties to sow discord
and push towards sectarianism in Iraq," he said.
King Abdullah referred to "calls for the establishment of an
autonomous region in southern Iraq that clearly amount to a suspect
invitation to partition".
Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, who is running in Sunday´s general
elections, called earlier this week for the establishment of an
autonomous zone in mainly Shiite southern Iraq, like that of the
Kurds in the north.
Jordan´s king said his comments had been "exaggerated or
misinterpreted" when he warned in an earlier interview that Iran was
using the Shiite majority in Iraq to try to create a
Shiite "crescent" stretching to Lebanon.
Shiite Iran has rejected the accusations, which echoed the fears of
Iraq´s Sunni Arab minority.
"Some people went too far in their interpretation of my words, in a
desperate bid to falsify the facts and achieve their projects and
ambitions," the king said.
"As a Hashemite Arab king, attached to the unity of the Iraqi
people, the unity of its ranks and independent destiny, I was
warning against attempts at division," he said.
"It is my duty to warn against any attempt to break up the unity of
the Iraqi people and spread discord between the different
communities," said King Abdullah.
"As a Hashemite, I speak in the name of all Muslims, Sunnis and
Shiites," said the king, a direct descendant of Prophet Mohammed.
"We want them to be united, as they have always been, and we will
oppose any attempt to damage this privileged relationship or our
ties with our Shiite brothers," he said.
King Abdullah, who turns 43 on the day of the Iraqi elections, said
the polls were "the only path to security and stability" in the
"We are working for widespread participation by the Iraqis to
achieve security and democracy, and to adopt a new constitution.
This is in the interests of Iraq, in the interests of us all, and of
peace in the region."
Turning to the Middle East conflict, the king voiced optimism that
new Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas could become "a strong and
effective partner in the peace process" with Israel.
"Abu Mazen (Abbas) has a vision, a work plan and priorities ... He
has always been against violence. He believes in dialogue and needs
our support to rebuild institutions," he said.
"If Israel really wants peace, it should help the Palestinian
leadership, ease economic restrictions and rapidly launch a
dialogue," he said.
King Abdullah, who took over on the death of his father King Hussein
in February 1999, said his aim was to make Jordan "an example of
political openness ... security and stability" in the region.
"The world is changing and we must face the challenges of the
century with new tools," said the king, who said he wanted to lead
the Jordanian people toward "a process of development and reforms".
(Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse. 01/27/05)
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