Abdullah of Jordan fears Middle East religious war

Date: 03-20-06

PARIS (AFP) - King Abdullah II of Jordan, who is on a visit to France, spoke in an interview of his fears of a religious war in the Middle East and urged the creation of a Palestinian state in the next two years.

"When two years ago I spoke of a Shiite crescent, I was expressing my fears that under the guise of religion the political game could end in a war between Sunnis and Shiites -- such as we're seeing the beginnings of in Iraq," he told Le Monde newspaper.

"The potential risk of an inter-religious conflict is real. It would be disastrous for all of us," he said.

On the Palestinian territories the king said he was "worried over the creation of a viable state. I think that if two years from now such a state has not been created, there will be nothing left to negotiate.

"No one knows what the consequences of that would be for Jordan and the region," he said.

Abdullah II had talks with President Jacques Chirac that focussed on the Middle East and on French investments in Jordan.


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