FOFOGNET Digest – 6 Dec 1998 to 7 Dec 1998 (#1998-59)
Cairo al-Ahram in Arabic 3 Dec 98 p 6, via FBIS/WNC.
“Second part” of interview with Jordan’s Crown Prince Hasan Bin-Talal by
Ahmad Nafi’ at the Jordanian Royal Court in Amman on 28 November 1998.
[Nafi’] Jordan has played a key role in the Palestinian issue and the
peace process exemplified by King Husayn’s participation in the Wye River
talks. What role will Jordan play in reaching a settlement that will
achieve Palestinian aspirations in the final status talks?
[Hasan] At the outset, allow me to differentiate among three things–the
Jordanian role, Jordanian relations, and Jordanian interests. Regarding His
Majesty the King, he played a distinguished role as a statesman and a
person in the final stages of the talks. He gave his moral support for
these talks and played an objective and fair role in clearly calling for an
end to this two-year tragedy–the tragedy of the dialogue of the deaf,
indirect speech, and sparring. His Majesty the King played a
“get-together” role in a humane way seen by everybody on television or at
the Wye meeting. His Majesty King Husayn played a role as a leader and a
person who suffered for years, even in his health, and took a bold and
moral stance. This is Jordan’s role on the level of leader and person.
When we speak about Jordanian-Palestinian relations, I do not want to dwell
on the past. But allow me to say that there is a Jordanian legal
responsibility, especially as we approach the final status talks. The
legal aspect is important because we do not view 4 May  as the end of
the final-status phase. The final-status phase is not a heap of issues.
The issues that were discussed in the interim phases do not constitute a
heap of issues that will be described on 4 May as final, especially when we
speak about eternal issues, such as Jerusalem, or historical issues, such
as the refugees, that have continued for 50 years.
In fact, we cannot envisage a solution for these issues, (and it is
improper to speak indirectly or indirectly about such a solution for the
refugees issue) within weeks or months. Jordan has a legal and historic
responsbility toward Jerusalem. There are also the rights of the citizens
who are Jordanian passport holders. God forbid, if we withdraw these
passports, we will be accused of emptying Jerusalem [of its Palestinian
citizens] and pushing them into taking a substitute nationality, which
unfortunately is Israeli nationality. This thing will not happen and will
in no way be accepted. There is a need for an initiative and a role at
this phase. Jordan’s role will complement the priorities put forward by
the Palestinian side.
Allow me to say that this issue is very complicated. It is difficult to
speak or speculate about it. Regarding Jerusalem, there are three
dimensions–the religious dimension, the social dimension, and the
sovereignty dimension. But let me say that there is a human and legal
relationship that requires attention and follow-up by Jordan. Regarding
the refugees issue, we like Egygt are a host country for the Palestinian
refugees. We will continue our care for them. But we will never backtrack
on the Palestinian refugees’ right to receive compensation or to return [to
their homes]. I would like to say that the cure for the requirements of
self-rule now and the Palestiian state tomorrow should not be represented
by the emigration of hundreds of thousands or millions of Palestinian
refugees to neighboring countries.
[Nafi’] Does Your Highness believe that Jordan will participate in the
final-status talks, especially since there are important issues that
concern it, such as the refugee and water issues?
[Hasan] I reiterate that Jordan, in view of its interests and its
relationship [with the Palestinian issue], will one day be obliged to say
what it believes. I would like to say that this deliberate disregard for J
ordan’s role (except the King’s role as a statesman) should not be a reason
for me to give the Israeli negotiator the chance to directly or indirectly
circumvent the Palestinian stance and its integrity. It is very clear that
territory is the core of the current conflict. We do not want Jordan to be
portrayed as wanting to settle the Palestinians anywhere else except inside
their legitimate political environment on Palestinian national soil.
But the question remains as to whose right it is to decide that this
situation would remain permanent and how? I want to remind you again that
the issue of the refugees was in the care of the United Nations Relief and
Works Agency [UNRWA] and that is why it lasted five decades. I also want
to remind everybody that Jordan’s interests will be expressed at the right
time and in a way that will not put the Palestinian negotiators in jeopardy
or in a weak position. We wish every success to the Palestinians during
the next stage, which could determine the final episodes of the whole
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