King Abdullah pessimistic about Middle East peace

By Jennifer Lipman, October 24, 2011
Jordan's King Abdullah II

Jordan's King Abdullah II

The Jordanian ruler has expressed his doubts about finding a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In an interview with CNN, King Abdullah said that while he was "one of the most optimistic people" in the Middle East, the current situation did not bode well.

"For the first time I'm very pessimistic about the Israelis and Palestinians," he said. He added that the Arab Spring and the looming presidential race provided a distraction from the peace process even though the issue "should be front and centre".

"Whenever there is a vacuum, whenever this is a status quo, there's usually a war," he said. "So we're missing a tremendous opportunity."

The king spoke warmly of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, although he also expressed severe doubts about Israel's commitment to a two - state solution.

"Everything he has told me is fantastic, and I couldn't have said it better myself on what needs to be done," he said. "Having said that, what I've seen of the political system in Israel, I've seen completely the opposite."

Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994.

Last updated: 4:43pm, October 24 2011