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    Jordan’s king agreed with U.S. Biden on need to defuse Jerusalem tension – state media

    By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

    AMMAN (Reuters) -Jordan's King Abdullah agreed with U.S. President Joe Biden on the need to prevent a repeat of recent confrontations in Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites that sparked concerns of wider conflict, state media said.

    In a phone call on Monday, Abdullah was quoted as saying the cornerstone of peace was a comprehensive Arab Israeli settlement based on a two-state solution whereby a Palestinian state would emerge alongside Israel.

    "Both his Majesty and President Biden stressed the importance of continued coordination and work on all levels to prevent a repeat of attacks on the city of Jerusalem and its holy sites and its people that would derail the chances of achieving peace and push towards more tensions," Petra state news agency said.

    Abdullah, whose Hashemite dynasty is the custodian of Muslim and Christian sites in the Old City, has spearheaded a diplomatic offensive to put pressure on Israel, whom he blames for the escalation at the Aqsa compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

    The confrontations since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that have coincided with Passover have raised religious passions amid international concerns about a slide back into a wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Jordan and fellow Arab states accused Israel in a meeting on Thursday in Amman of restricting the right of worship of Muslims while allowing ultra-nationalist Jews under police protection to enter the mosque compound.

    Israel, which denies it was responsible for the escalation in violence, said on Thursday it was enforcing a long-standing ban on Jewish prayer at the compound of Al-Aqsa mosque, rejecting an Arab League accusation that it was allowing such worship to take place.

    As in previous years, Israel halted Jewish visits during the final days of Ramadan.

    Al-Aqsa sits atop the Old City plateau of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move that has not received international recognition. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as capital of their hoped-for future state.

    (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Andrea Ricci)




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