Jordan's king to scrap part of Israel peace treaty

King: Jordan will terminate Baqoura, Ghumar annexes in peace treaty

Jordan King to Abandon Part of 1994 Peace Treaty With Israel on Land Lease

Jordan's King Abdullah II says Amman has already notified Israel that it will not extend its lease of two border territories to the Tel Aviv regime, stressing that his country is resolute to reclaim both regions under a bilateral peace deal signed nearly a quarter of a century ago.

"Baqoura and Ghumar were at the top of our priorities", King Abdullah said on Twitter.

Abdullah said he informed Israel of his decision.

"Al-Baqoura and Al-Ghamr [the Arabic names] have always been our top priority, and our decision is to end Al-Baqoura's annexation and step away from the peace agreement based on our keenness to take whatever is necessary for Jordan and Jordanians", Jordan's King Abdullah II tweeted in Arabic on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would reach out to Jordan in order to negotiate an extension on the leases which are set to expire next year. He told senior Jordanian politicians the kingdom wanted to exercise its "full sovereignty" over the two areas, Petra state news agency said.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan sign the Washington Agreement on the White House Lawn as U.S. President Bill Clinton watches.

"Israel was informed today of the Jordanian decision", the monarch said, stressing that "Baqura and Ghumar are Jordanian land and will remain Jordanian".

With the validity of the treaty's annex ending on October 25, debate over the land, the treaty and the government's decision resurfaced after 25 years.

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Public sentiment in Jordan against Israel is strong because of its continued occupation of Palestinian territories and its treatment of Palestinians.

The case of Baqoura could provide a predicament for Israel and Jordan given a possible dispute over land rights. Three years after the agreement was signed, a Jordanian soldier opened fire, killing seven Israeli schoolgirls visiting one of the territories now under discussion.

But he said Israel "will enter negotiations with it on the possibility of extending the current arrangement".

Despite the two sides sharing close security ties, there has been increased tensions between Jordan and Israel over the Israeli governments "provocative" measures ranging from placing restrictions on the Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque and the Noble Sanctuary - recognised in the peace treaty as under Jordanian custodianship - to the continued construction of settlements on 1967 territory. They have also been expanding economic ties in the previous year.

Netanyahu said the "accord as a whole is an important thing", and called the peace deals with Jordan and Egypt "anchors of regional stability".

Relations between Jordan and Israel deteriorated previous year when an Israeli security officer shot and killed two unarmed Jordanian men in the Israeli embassy in Amman.

Anis Qassem, a Palestinian expert on global law, said that legally the "right to use the lands of Baqura and Ghumar was given to Israel and gave it de facto sovereignty while Jordan has superficial sovereignty".

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