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King Abdullah II of Jordan has urged Nobel Prize winners to act as mentors to researchers in the developing world and to set up a commission for sustainable scientific development.

The king was speaking at the second Conference of Nobel Laureates, held in Petra, Jordan from 20-21 June.

Abdullah called on the gathered laureates to adopt "pre-emptive problem-solving" initiatives, such as setting up a network to link research institutes in the developing world.

"Through the network, laureates would mentor high-quality work in critical fields — medicine, science, the environment, and more," he said. "This initiative would help [produce] tomorrow's great scientists and advance research specifically needed by the developing world."

Abdullah added that developing countries need international technical assistance if they are to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015. He suggested that Nobel laureates set up a commission for sustainable development to give independent advice about such assistance.

"Your involvement would deliver unique credibility and expertise," he told the delegates, adding that this would help mobilise support for crucial projects.

The king said that effective international cooperation often begins with the sharing of technical expertise, and that there is a need to strengthen such cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis.

Delegates at the meeting backed plans to create a Nobel Research Institute in Petra, and will refine the plans later this year.