Jordanian envoy ’optimistic’ on Palestinian statehood
Jordanian Ambassador to Korea Omar Al Nahar said he is optimistic Korea will support recognition of an independent Palestinian state by the United Nations General Assembly.
“Both the Korean people and the Korean government have a very high sense of justice and are sensitive toward what is right,” Nahar said.
“I am optimistic, and believe that Korea will make the right choice,”he said in an interview with The Korea Times at Jordan’s newly minted embassy at the Twin Tree Tower Building in Joonghak-dong near Anguk Station in Seoul.
“I can’t speak on behalf of the Korean government. I do, however, believe that the Palestinains deserve to have their own state and to live in peace security and harmony with their neighbors,” he said.
The Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas submitted a formal request on Sep. 23 for the world body to take up the issue.
“This is undeniable and it will happen no matter how long it is ignored,” Nahar said. He arrived in February, and presented his Letter of Credence to President Lee Myung-bak on Feb. 22, 2011.
Jordan has a historical and special relationship with the Palestinian people and, amid the political wake of the so-called Arab Spring which has forced Egypt to take a step back from its traditional role as intermediary between Israel and many Arab and Muslim countries, Jordan’s King Abdullah is raising his country profile for possibly a new heightened mediating role.
“Everyone understands that UN membership does not mean real statehood,” Nahar said. “We all know and agree that real Palestinian statehood can only be achieved within the framework of a comprehensive and final negotiated settlement.”
“Still, UN recognition of Palestine would advance the cause, their just cause, which we fully support,” he said in his office, which overlooks touristy Insadong and Gyeongbuk Palace.
Jordan’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States in December 2001 phased out duties on nearly all goods and services between the two countries.
Jordan has also enjoyed “advanced status” with the European Union since December 2010, as well as being a member of the Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. Jordan has a higher number of FTAs than any other country in the region.
“I believe, like humanity believes, that Palestinians deserve to be free from occupation and to have their own state in the framework of the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders,” said Nahar over sweet Turkish coffee and honeyed treats made from almonds and pistachios.
“After the breakdown in direct negotiations, the Palestinians did not have any other options,” he said. “One cannot perceive the frustration and agony they and other peace loving partners in the region―including Israelis, and in the world at large face. They are going to the UN to get at least a small part of what the peace process failed to deliver so far.”