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Israeli/Palestinian Summit Spearheads Middle East Peace Talks
Aired June 4, 2003 - 20:19 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Images from Aqaba, the summit. In the last hour we reported on the Israeli/Palestinian Summit attended by President Bush. You just saw the pictures there. Following a plan spearheaded by the U.S. and others, the Israelis promised to remove unauthorized settlements and the Palestinians publicly rejected violence and terrorism. Of course, the host of the summit was Jordan's King Abdullah II, who spoke one on one today with Christiane Amanpour. She joins us from summit site Aqaba, Jordan.
Christiane, good evening.
What is King Abdullah's take on how the summit went?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he seems to be quite positive. I think students of this whole process couldn't help but be moved by the sight of what they saw today. Basically, Jordan, as you know, was the second Arab country to make peace with Israel. It was King Abdullah's father, King Hussein, that signed that peace here in Jordan in 1994.
Here was the young Abdullah trying to carry forth the mantle. It's a tough job and he knows he has a lot and big role to play. He's also in the position of having to defend both President Bush, having supported President Bush during the Iraq war, and to try to give the encouragement to the Israeli prime minister about whom who there is a great deal of skepticism in this part of the world. That this is what he said about what he believed to be their commitment now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING ABDULLAH II, JORDAN: It can be said about both the president of the United States or what people can say about Prime Minister Sharon is they are both men of their words. And when they commit to something, we have to expect they'll follow through. It's going to be difficult. And we expect bumps in the road. But I'm pretty convinced that there is going to be an effort and, again, the United States is going to put a lot of pressure to make Israelis and Palestinians commit to what they've said today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Certainly for the Arab leaders and for many people in this part of the world who have deep suspicions about the United States' commitment, about U.S. balance, about what Israel really will do, certainly for many people, including the king, the commitment of the U.S. is vital. And they are desperate now to get the U.S. fully engaged, as you know, President Bush stayed away from this issue for all of his administration. And now many leaders such as King Abdullah, such and European leaders, allies like Tony Blair, believe that they have a commitment from Tony Blair in return for their support of the Iraq war to finally fix the Israel-Palestinian situation -- Anderson.
COOPER: Christiane, as you know, verbal commitments are one thing, words are one thing, actions something else entirely.
Did King Abdullah seem confident they could translate their words into action on the ground?
AMANPOUR: Everybody is calling it cautious optimism. Here was a moment of hope. Nobody wanted to rain on that parade. But everybody very, very aware it's going to be extremely difficult in the weeks, the months, ahead when the real, real sensitive issues come to the fore and very tough decisions have to be made and very hard choices have to be made. On the Palestinian side, they have a real obligation to reign in violence.
They have to try to get Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stop suicide bombing attacks against the Israelis. Abu Mazen, himself prefers the root of negotiating or rather getting Hamas to agree to a cease fire rather than what the Israelis have demanded, which is to arrest those people and to confiscate weapons. He wants to see whether he can get a truce first. People are very, very keen to give him a chance. They know that it's going to be difficult.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING ABDULLAH II: Prime Minister Abbas made a very strong commitment to renounce violence to find a peaceful solution to move the Palestinian society forward in the way we want. But we have to support Abu Mazen on the ground to be able to be effective so that the violence is lessened. So, if something happens over the next couple of weeks, we can't hold him directly responsible. He is committed to doing that, but he needs to be empowered to give him the tools, give him capability on the ground to be able to enforce it. I see this as one of the major problems that we have to understand the reasons behind and work through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, in the next few days, we're told Abu Mazen, the Palestinian prime minister, will be meeting again with representatives of the militant groups and one expects, from what he said, there will be some truce announced. Israeli officials have told us that unofficially they'll accept a truce, and they will see how that goes and everybody is hoping to see reciprocal steps taken and this process really start being implemented almost immediately -- Anderson.
COOPER: Christiane, thank you very much tonight. Appreciate the report.
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