Jordan says peace treaty with Israel unaffected by scrapping land deals

Safadi said Jordan would respect its obligations toward Israelis in the peace treaty that demarcated borders for the first time since the creation of Israel in 1948. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 October 2018
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Jordan says peace treaty with Israel unaffected by scrapping land deals

  • Under the peace treaty, the deal would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement

AMMAN: Jordan said its commitment to uphold a peace treaty with Israel was not in question despite ending a 25-year special regime that allows its neighbor to use two parcels of land along its borders under its sovereignty.
Jordan formally notified Israel on Sunday it would not renew the deal over Baquora, where the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River, and in the Ghumar area in the southern Wadi Araba desert, where Israeli farmers have large plantations.
King Abdullah, who stressed the territories were Jordanian lands and would remain so, said the move was made in the “national interest” during a period of regional turmoil.
Under the peace treaty, the two areas were recognized to be under Jordanian sovereignty but Israel was given special provisions to use the land and allow Israelis free access, while in the Baquora area Israeli private property rights were respected.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the deal, which was signed in November 1994, had been conceived as a temporary arrangement from the start.
“That is why there was a time cap on it ... We acted within the provisions of the peace treaty. This is an indication of our commitment to the peace treaty. There has never been a question of our solid commitment to the treaty,” said Safadi.
Jordan is one of only two Arab states that has a peace treaty with Israel and the two countries have a long history of close security ties. But the treaty is unpopular and pro-Palestinian sentiment is widespread in Jordan.
Safadi said the kingdom had contemplated the move for a while before the Nov. 10 deadline.
Under the peace treaty, the deal would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Jordan’s move and said his country sought to enter negotiations on the possibility of extending the arrangement.
The kingdom was now awaiting Israel invoking a provision in the treaty to hold consultations after giving notice before the deadline, Safadi said.
“There will be no negotiations over sovereignty. But we will fulfil our obligation to engage in consultations to implement the termination ...,” Safadi added.
The king’s move was hailed by parliamentarians who have been vocal against a renewal they say was humiliating and perpetuates Israeli “occupation” of Jordanian territory.
Safadi said Jordan would respect its obligations toward Israelis in the peace treaty that demarcated borders for the first time since the creation of Israel in 1948.
“We will fulfil our legal commitments in a manner that recognize whatever rights there are for Israel, particularly the property rights. We will respect these rights in accordance with Jordanian laws that respects private property of non-Jordanians,” Safadi added.


Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

Updated 23 May 2019
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Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

  • The commander said they will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for their enemies
  • Tensions between Iran and US escalated after Trump restored sanctions

GENEVA: The standoff between Iran and the United States is a “clash of wills,” a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, suggesting any enemy “adventurism” would meet a crushing response, Fars news agency reported.
Tensions have spiked between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.
“The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.
He pointed to a battle during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war where Iran was victorious and said the outcome could be a message that Iran will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for any enemy “adventurism.”
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!“
Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
Trump wants Iran to come to the negotiating table to reach a new deal with more curbs on its nuclear and missile programs.
Reiterating Iran’s stance, the spokesman for its Supreme National Security Council said on Thursday that “There will not be any negotiations between Iran and America.”
Keyvan Khosravi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster that some officials from several countries have visited Iran recently, “mostly representing the United States.”
He did not elaborate, but the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday.
“Without exception, the message of the power and resistance of the Iranian nation was conveyed to them,” he said.
In Berlin, a German diplomatic source told Reuters that Jens Ploetner, a political director in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, was in Tehran on Thursday for meetings with Iranian officials to try to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and cool tensions in the region.