New FM Ashkenazi stresses 'central role' to foster good ties

Jordanian FM says annexation will lead to ‘confrontation and anarchy’

Jordan’s foreign minister tells international summit ‘we must act quickly’; UAE envoy to US warns White House officials against allowing Israel to annex parts of West Bank

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi delivers his speech during a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, conference, in Rome, March 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi delivers his speech during a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, conference, in Rome, March 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Thursday warned against Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, saying the move would lead to “confrontation, anarchy and hopelessness.”

Safadi made the statements to an international summit discussing the Islamic State, Channel 13 reported.

“As part of the war on terror, we must act quickly to prevent Israel from annexing one-third of occupied Palestine and the consequences of this decision,” Safadi said. “Instead, negotiations must be resumed in order to achieve piece on the basis of a two-state solution.”

Meanwhile, United Arab Emirates envoy to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, in recent weeks warned senior White House officials against allowing annexation to go forward.

“The response by the UAE and the Gulf states to Israeli annexation in the West Bank will not be restrained like after the American embassy was transferred to Jerusalem. This is a fundamentally different case,” he said, according to Channel 13. “Israeli annexation will lead to an escalation in the Middle East.”

Amid the warnings and protestations from his international counterparts, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told Foreign Ministry employees Thursday that the ministry’s “most central role” was to strengthen Israel’s national security, including by fostering relations with friendly regional countries and the US.

The statements come amid a wave of regional and international criticism of the planned Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank under the peace plan being advanced by the Trump administration in the US.

Sergey Lavrov and Sameh Shoukry, the foreign ministers of Russia and Egypt, respectively, warned Israel against annexation on Wednesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media during a press conference in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2019. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Lavrov and Sameh made the announcement after a call they said addressed “regional issues.” Lavrov’s office said that the call had been planned at Shoukry’s initiative.

“The ministers noted annexing sections of Palestinian land on the West Bank of the Jordan River will threaten the prospects for the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli problem and could provoke a new and dangerous round of violence in the region,” Lavrov’s office said in a statement.

Russia recently announced its willingness to host Israeli-Palestinian talks in Moscow in a bid to prevent annexation and restart the peace process. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki said in a statement on Tuesday that he would be willing to attend bilateral talks in Moscow under Russian auspices.

Shoukry cautioned against unilateral annexation, saying that it would “lead to an increasingly complex situation and affect security and stability.”

Both parties affirmed their commitment to a two-state solution.

Jordanian officials, including the kingdom’s prime minister and foreign minister, have threatened to reconsider their treaties and agreements with Israel in the event of annexation.

“We will not accept unilateral Israeli moves to annex Palestinian lands and we would be forced to review all aspects of our relations with Israel,” Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz told Jordanian state news agency Petra in late May.

Razzaz made his statement mere days after Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned in an interview with Der Spiegel that if Israel “really annexes the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

Despite the steady drumbeat of Jordanian statements against annexation, Cairo has remained relatively quiet. Shoukry’s statement did not indicate if Egypt would consider reviewing its own treaty with Israel.

Egypt and Israel have had a peace treaty since 1978, when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and prime minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords.

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