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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 21:28 GMT 22:28 UK
Arabs 'fearful of US intentions'
King Abdullah of Jordan
Iraqi war was "a step back" for US-Arab relations, the king says
King Abdullah of Jordan has warned that there are continuing apprehensions in the Arab world about American intentions following the invasion of Iraq.

In an interview with the BBC, the king said that there was concern over who would next be targeted by the United States.

He said the coalition would have to be very careful how it described what it wanted from Iraq.

The only way to remove apprehension, King Abdullah said, was by moving fast on the roadmap promised by President Bush for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Arab opinion

The king said that although there were fears about a possible break-up of Iraq, many within the Arab world were satisfied that the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had been ousted.

The only way you can balance and bring trust in the Arab street towards Western intentions is to see how fairly you're going to tackle the Israeli Palestinian problem
King Abdullah of Jordan
Nonetheless he said that questions were being asked about why the US needed military bases in the region.

There have been reports - denied by the US - that it was considering the establishment of permanent military bases in Iraq.

"The perception on the Arab street is today it's Iraq tomorrow it's Syria, who's next?" he said.

"So investing in bases in Iraq would give people the ammunition to say just that."

Israeli-Palestinian roadmap

King Abdullah said that the only way to guarantee the removal of such apprehension was to implement the US-developed road map for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"The core issue as you well know has always been the Israeli Palestinian one," he said.

"The only way you can balance and bring trust in the Arab street towards Western intentions is to see how fairly you're going to tackle the Israeli Palestinian problem."

He added that he believed that both US President George W Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair were committed to the Middle East road map.

But he said that it was important now for the road map to take precedence for the future.

"We've had to deal with Iraq as a step back," he said.

"Now we need to look at the future and once and for all get the Middle East sorted out in the right direction."




WATCH AND LISTEN
King Abdullah of Jordan
"The perception on the Arab street is today it's Iraq tomorrow it's Syria, who's next?"



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