The Amman Message: how Jordan understands Islam–text of remarks by King Abdullah II, November 2004

The following is the text of the Amman Message, a landmark statement of moderate Islam, by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, given at the beginning of Ramadan 2004.

For some reason some Koranic verses turned into emoticons when I pasted the text. I don’t know the reasons for this but I have written them again with a different type of bracket for the understanding of anyone who wants to look up the Koranic reference. If someone wants to use this copy to paste text somewhere, it should be easy enough to see the bracketed information and remove the duplicate information.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate;
Prayers and Salutations upon His chosen Prophet,
upon the Prophet’s household, his courageous companions,
and all the apostles and prophets:

God Almighty said: “Mankind ! We created you from a pair of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other. The most honoured of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you” (Al Hujurat: 13).

Amman , the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, seizes the opportunity of this Holy Month of Ramadan, in which the Holy Quran was revealed, to issue a statement to the public, to our brethren in Muslim lands and in this whole world.

We are aware of the dangers and challenges the Islamic Nation is facing today at this difficult juncture of its course. Evils threaten its identity, incite disunity, tarnish its religion and assail its tenets; they attack fiercely the very message of Islam. Some who attack Islam imagine it is their enemy. But it is not their enemy. Others, who claim to belong to Islam, have done gruesome and criminal acts in its name. The message that is under attack is the message of tolerance, revealed by the Almighty to His prophet Muhammad, God’s prayers and salutations be upon him, and carried after him by his orthodox successors and household members: a message of brotherhood and humanity; forming a righteous religion that embraces the entire sphere of human life, upholding what is good and forbidding what is wrong, accepting of others, and honouring all human beings.

Over many years, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has sought to repel assaults on Islam by halting the fallacies against it and promoting true understanding of the faith. These efforts are inspired by the religious and historical legacy of the Hashemite monarchy, honoured as direct descendants of the Prophet, the Messenger of God. For five decades, his late Majesty King Hussein Bin Talal, God rest his soul, persisted tirelessly to reform the image and support the unity of the world’s Muslims. His Majesty King Abdullah II has continued this effort with the same steadfastness since the day he held the flag. Today, His Majesty is determined to ward off Muslim marginalization and isolation in the global movement of human society. His goal is to assert what the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims expect themselves to be: full partners in the development of human civilization, and in the progress of humanity in our age.

The Muslim faith is based on belief in one God and the message of His Prophet; the daily prayers by which we connect to our Creator; the Ramadan fast in which we resist and discipline the desires of the body; the Zakat charitable tax by which we help others; and the Haj pilgrimage to God’s House, Mecca, which represents the unity of the Nation (the Ummah), and is performed by those who are able. These obligations, regulating human behaviour in all its dimensions, have created a strong and cohesive Nation and a great civilization. Equally important, they reflect deep principles that are needed for humanity’s own good: unity of the human race, equal rights and obligations, peace, security, social equality, the honouring of pledges, neighborliness and respect for others, and the protection of belongings and property.

Islam’s principles also provide common ground among different faiths and peoples. The origin of divine religions is one, and Muslims believe in all messengers of God; denying the message of any of them is a deviation from Islam. This furnishes a wide platform upon which peoples of different faiths can meet together, with respect for others’ ideas and faiths, and act in common in the service of human society:

“The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one believeth in God and his angels and His scriptures and his messengers – We make no distinction between any of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto thee is the journeying” (Al Baqara: 285).

Islam honours every human being, without distinction of colour, race or religion:

We have honoured the sons of Adam, provided them transport on land and sea, sustained them with good things, and conferred on them special favours above a great part of our creation (Al Isra’a: 70)

Islam also affirms that Muslims, when spreading the call of God, are called to act gently on earth.

Invite to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious (Al Nahl: 125)

Because the Islamic mission is based on reason, Muslims are to shun violence and cruelty, and speak with kindness and respect:

It is part of the Mercy of God that thou dost deal gently with them, wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs. (Aal Imran: 159)

Islam clarified that its message is to bring mercy to all peoples:

We sent thee not save as a Mercy for all creatures (Al Anbiya’a: 107)

Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Unto Him, emphasized the concepts of compassion and tenderness in Islam when he said, “Mercy from the Most Merciful is bestowed on those who have mercy on others, and those who have mercy on creations of God on earth, The Almighty in the Heavens will have mercy on you.”

Islam calls for treating others as one desires to be treated. It urges tolerance and forgiveness, qualities that elevate human life:

The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto in degree, but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God (Shura: 40)

Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will be between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate (Fussilat: 34)

Islam calls for treating others justly, safeguarding their rights and possessions:

And let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety (Al Maida: 8)

[Al Maida:8]

God commands you to return trusts to their owners, and if you judge between people, you shall judge with justice (Al Nisa’: 58)

[al Nisa’:58]

“So give full measure and full weight and wrong not mankind in their goods, and work not confusion in the earth after the fair ordering thereof” (Al A’raf: 85)

Islam dictates respect for conventions and pledges, and condemns treachery and treason:

Fulfill the Covenant of God when ye have entered into it, and break not your oaths after you have confirmed them, indeed you made God your surety (Al Nahl: 91)

Islam upholds human life. There is to be no fighting against non-fighters; no assault on civilians and their properties, on children in their mothers’ laps, on students in the schools, on older men and women. To assault the life of a human being is equivalent to assaulting the right to life of all – and this is one of the gravest sins, for life is the basis for the continuation of humanity.

If any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people. And if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people (Al Ma’ida: 32)

Islam respects balance, moderation, and equanimity:

Thus have we made of you an Ummat justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Apostle a witness over yourselves (Al Baqara: 143)

The Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, said: “Facilitate and don’t hesitate, augur well and don’t shun away” (Hadeeth Shareef)

This is the faith that made historic advances in science, scholarship and intellectual life – achievements that empowered a great civilization, in whose achievements non-Muslims had their share, and which became the vehicle to bring knowledge for the West as well.

Islam calls on Muslims to demonstrate tolerance and delight in human life; it opposes extremism, exaggeration, and intransigence. These phenomena are veils against right thinking – they conceal the repercussions of one’s actions, and encourage a reckless disregard for religion, reason, and civilized behavior. Indeed, Islam rejects extremism as a deviation from true faith and a form of injustice. Furthermore, it is not a trait that characterizes a particular nation; it is an aberration that has been experienced by all nations, races, and religions.

We denounce extremism today, just as our forefathers relentlessly did throughout Islamic history. Time after time, they insisted on the importance of one clear truth: the ends do not justify the means. We speak this truth again today. Islam is a religion of ethics that seeks what is good for people in the entire world. Its principles are those of honour. The means for spreading Islam are ethical means. And Islam can only be defended through ethical means.

The foundation of relations between Muslims and others is peace. In Islam, war is only justified by necessity and challenges. No fighting is permissible when others pose no aggression. Even then, the duty of Muslims is to treat others with justice and benevolence:

God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for your Faith, nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: For God loveth those who are just (Al Mumtahina: 8)

[Al Mumtahina:8]

But if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression (Al Baqara: 193)

On religious grounds, on moral grounds, we denounce the contemporary concept of terrorism which is associated with wrongful practices wherever they come from – including assaults on peaceful civilians, killing prisoners and the wounded, unethical practices such as the destruction of buildings, and ransacking cities. These despotic attacks on human life transgress the law of God, and we denounce them. As the Qur’an says:

Take not life which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law (Al Anaam: 51)

Fighting injustice and realizing justice should be a legitimate undertaking through legitimate means. We call on the Nation (Ummah) to adopt what is necessary to achieve the strength and steadfastness needed to build itself and ensure the preservation of rights.

No human whose heart is filled with light could be an extremist. We decry the campaign that portrays Islam as a religion that encourages violence and institutionalizes terrorism.

Throughout history, extremism has caused the destruction of great civilizations. The tree of civilization wilts, and hearts close, when malice takes hold. It is an evil alien to Islamic values of moderation and tolerance.

Today, we call on the international community to work seriously on implementing international law and ensuring respect for U.N. conventions and resolutions, ensuring that there are no double standards, that injustice is uprooted and that people’s rights are returned. Achieving this will contribute to uprooting the causes of violence, exaggeration, and extremism.

The Islam that we are honoured to belong to calls on us to be involved in modern society and contribute to its progress. To achieve that, Muslims reach out in brotherhood to all those who love justice, reason, and righteousness.

Islam guides us to express, earnestly, the realities of our lives, and to share the soundness of our faith and beliefs. This is God’s call for coexistence and piety.

Islam guides us to work on reforming the religious discourse of civilization in our countries, through well-designed, practical scientific plans that focus on rehabilitating preachers. These priorities will ensure broad public awareness among these preachers of the true spirit of Islam and its methodology in building human life, as well as providing them with knowledge of contemporary culture and how to deal with their communities.

Say, ‘this is my way. I, and those who follow me, call for God with a clear vision of the truth.’ (Yusuf: 108)

[Yusuf: 108]

Islam guides us to deal with the communication revolution, by utilizing the media in a sound, scientific manner, without weakness or emotional outbursts. Thus, we may respond to accusations stirred by enemies of Islam, while reaching all those who receive the messages of global media.

Islam guides us to build up the Muslim individual through the best of education. Those who are confident in their knowledge and abilities are secure in their personalities, and through this self-confidence, present the distinguished outlook of Islam to the whole world.

Islam guides us to benefit from and contribute to the achievements of this age. Islam encourages science and technology; it is a pioneer in its approach to comprehensive development. The Islamic approach provides a balance in spiritual, economic, and social life; provides for human rights and basic liberties; ensures the individual’s right to live in dignity and security, guarantees basic needs, and administers society’s affairs in accordance with the principles of justice and consultation. Such an approach both benefits from and strengthens the mechanisms of modern democracy.

We attach great hope to the scholars of our Nation. It is they who will enlighten our youth – the generation that adorns our present age and will create and become our future. It is our scholars who will keep our youth from sliding down the paths of ignorance, corruption, close-mindedness and subordination, into the abyss of extremism. And it is our scholars who will hold a beacon to a different path – a path of tolerance, moderation, and goodness; guiding young people to the way of Islam and instituting its great values in their young hearts.

Indeed, as role models in their religious manners, conduct, and speech, our scholars can contribute to the renewal of the march of our entire Nation. By their exacting standards of science, positive visions of politics, and the grace to take all matters wisely and meticulously; and by bringing people together, not dividing them, by uniting hearts, not turning them away, and by raising humanity’s eyes to the horizons of fulfillment: in all these ways, our scholars will help our whole Nation meet the challenges of the 21st century. Through such wisdom and achievement, Islam’s goodness, peace, and love will flow to all the peoples of the world.

We pray to God: to provide our Islamic Nation with means of renaissance, prosperity and advancement; to shield it from the evils of extremism and closed minds; to preserve its rights, sustain its glory, and uphold its dignity. He is the best Lord and the Best Aid.

God Almighty says: “And (He commandeth you, saying): This is My straight path, so follow it. Follow not other ways, lest ye be parted from His way. This hath He ordained for you, that ye may ward off (evil)” (Al An’aam: 153.

We conclude, thanking God, Lord of the worlds,

Amman
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Ramadan 1425 Hijri
November 2004 AD

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Related posts:
Transcript of interview with Jordan’s King Abdullah May 9, 2007 with Egyptian Al Ahram daily
Remarks by King Abdullah 5-21-07 to Nik Gowing, BBC World, at the side of G11 Economic Forum
Prosperity, stability, a crucial model for other countries: Text of King Abdullah II remarks at opening of Dead Sea G-11 Economic Summit 5-19-07
Transcript of Interview, Jordan’s King Abdullah 4-10-07

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Advertisements
Posted in Islam, Jordan, Middle East, peace, Religion, Terrorism. Comments Off on The Amman Message: how Jordan understands Islam–text of remarks by King Abdullah II, November 2004

His Majesty King Abdullah II’s Interview with NPR – Morning Edition April 22, 2009

Transcript of interview of Jordan’s King Abduallh II with NPR’s Michele Kelemen 4-22-09.
Audio is at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=103354609&m=103354593

His Majesty King Abdullah II

His Majesty King Abdullah II’s Interview with NPR – Morning Edition

April 22, 2009
Washington, DC
U.S.A.


King: Core Middle East Problem Must Be Resolved
by Michele Kelemen

Morning Edition, April 22, 2009 · President Obama says he wants to see Israel and the Palestinians step back from the abyss and revive stalled peace talks, and he is inviting Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian leaders to the White House for separate talks in the coming weeks.

Jordan’s King Abdullah, the first Arab leader to meet Obama in the White House, says he came away convinced that the U.S. is preparing for a regional approach, trying to promote Arab Israeli peace on several different tracks.

In an interview with NPR, King Abdullah said he thinks the new approach will be to try to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks and, simultaneously, to work on the Israeli-Lebanese and Israeli-Syrian tracks.

The ultimate “prize” for the Israelis, King Abdullah said, is recognition by the 57 Arab and Muslim nations that don’t have relations with the Jewish state. He says Israel is at a critical juncture now and has to decide whether it wants to be “integrated into the neighborhood” or continue to be “fortress Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has raised the idea of an “economic peace” with the Palestinians.

King Abdullah argues that “if economic outreach to the Palestinians is going to be a substitute for a two-state solution, it is never going to work.” There are “certain baby steps” that both Israelis and Palestinians can take to create a better atmosphere for negotiations, “hopefully under an American umbrella,” he said.

Obama also spoke about the need for both sides to make some “gestures of good faith” in the coming months and “step back from the abyss.”

The trip to Washington wasn’t only business for the Jordanian king. He took advantage of some downtime to ride his motorcycle to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Gettysburg, Pa., to “decompress” and take in a bit of American history.

Transcript of His Majesty King Abdullah’s Interview:

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO “MORNING EDITION” INTERVIEW WITH KING ABDULLAH OF JORDAN

MS. KELEMEN: Well, Your Majesty, thanks very much for having us.

Tell us about your meeting with President Obama. Do you come away with a better sense of what he’s planning on doing to promote peace between the Israelis and Palestinians?

HM KING ABDULLAH: Yes. And I think that the president is not only committed to an agenda to bring Israelis and Palestinians together, he’s looking more to a regional approach where hopefully it’ll be Israelis and Palestinians; Israelis and Lebanese; Israelis and Syrians; and Israelis and Arab and Muslim partners.

MS. KELEMEN: The climate is very difficult now. Obviously, you have a new Israeli government that talks about promoting the economy of the Palestinian territory — so sort of an economic peace rather than a political peace. You have Palestinians split — rival factions controlling Gaza and the West Bank.

Aren’t you discouraged by this landscape?

HM KING ABDULLAH: Well, I think historically we always have to be optimistic. If we’re discouraged, that means that we’ve given up and I think for generations to come, that would be a disaster if we do.

Having said that, I think — going back to the issue of Israeli initiatives to have an economic peace — that’s not going to solve the problem. The core problem in the Middle East is the Israeli- Palestinian one. From that resonates all the other problems that we have and most people in the Middle East understand that this is the core issue. And so we’ve got to be very careful that if economic outreach is going to be a substitute for a two-state solution, then it’s not going to work.

On the Palestinian side, more than 85 percent want their Palestinian leaders to have a negotiation of peace with the Israelis. Even in Israel the overwhelming majority of the population still wants a negotiated settlement. And so it’s really empowering the people to convince their politicians that peace is the only way out as opposed to the other way around at this stage.

MS. KELEMEN: And President Obama said that for now his envoy is in listening mode in the Middle East. When do you expect to see the administration taking a firmer stand or has it done enough to date?

HM KING ABDULLAH: Again, listening mode has been very positive. And it doesn’t mean that Senator Mitchell, when he goes out, just listens. We hear American views and advice and that’s being taken on very strongly.

And actually, from practical steps, I believe that until President — Prime Minister Netanyahu comes to Washington and the president listens to what he has to say, I think it’s after that visit that you will get — I don’t know whether the word is a U.S. declaration, but a U.S. intention to bring both parties to the negotiation table. But in a regional context, it allows for the first time 57 nations of the world — that’s a third of the United Nations that does not recognize Israel — an opportunity to also come to the table and extend the hands to friendship to Israel.

MS. KELEMEN: What’s new about the Arab Peace Initiative that you brought? I mean, that’s part of the Arab Peace Initiative is to have Arab countries recognize Israel as — after there’s a fair peace.

HM KING ABDULLAH: Well, it’s really the most modern proposal in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It’s the only major one that has been there since the 1970s, which basically guarantees the future of Israel. It is including Israel to be a partner in the world with a third of the world that doesn’t recognize it today.

MS. KELEMEN: But is there more Arab countries can do to convince Israel that this is in its interests?

HM KING ABDULLAH: Well, Israel, I think, is at a critical juncture: whether it wants to be ingratiated into and integrated into the neighborhood or whether it wants to continue to be Fortress Israel. And what Fortress Israel means is no two-state solution; therefore, tension and violence between Israelis and Arabs/Israelis and Muslims, which nobody can afford. This is a small world and we’re all affected by it.

So I think the crossroads that Israel will have in 2009 is does it want to be part of the neighborhood or does it continue to want to be Fortress Israel? And that’s the challenge that we have is to convince Israel not to be Fortress Israel.

MS. KELEMEN: Now, I know you’re here on serious business, but I understand you got out to tool around on your motorcycle this weekend. (Laughter.)

HM KING ABDULLAH: Well, it was beautiful weather. And I had some of friends of mine here and we got out and went to Harper’s Ferry and to Gettysburg — a battle I’ve always studied and wanted to get out and see — and ended up in Baltimore-Annapolis and it was a great weekend of riding.

MS. KELEMEN: So this is a hobby of yours — motorcycle riding?

HM KING ABDULLAH: Well, it’s one of the few adventure sports that I’m allowed to do these days.

MS. KELEMEN: And I’m sure the security agents love it.

HM KING ABDULLAH: (Laughs.) Well, actually, some of them ride with us. So I think it’s a bit of work and pleasure at the same time.

MS. KELEMEN: Well, thank you very much, Your Majesty, for our time today.

HM KING ABDULLAH: Thank you very much.

Posted in King Abdullah II. Comments Off on His Majesty King Abdullah II’s Interview with NPR – Morning Edition April 22, 2009

Text of remarks by King Abdullah II to the World Economic Forum at Sharm al-Sheikh 5-19-08

His Majesty King Abdullah delivers an address at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East at Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday (Photo by Yousef Allan)

From The Jordan Times Monday May 19, 2008

Following is the full text of His Majesty King Abdullah’s remarks at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday:

Bismillah Al Rahman Al Rahim

Professor Schwab,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Members of the Forum:

When they write the histories – this could be 2008:

The birth-year of independent Palestine…

An end-point to a 60-year timeline of conflict…

The start of a new global position for the entire Middle East.

My friends,

These goals are more than a vision. After years of delay, progress is possible. The Arab Peace Initiative has provided the foundation for a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians – this year. And peace has global support.

Time is now of the essence. It is vital that the year 2008 does not end as the year 2000 did: With progress cut off, the sphere of agreement collapsing and years of expanding violence to come.

We need to ask ourselves, how much further ahead would we be today, if these last eight years had been years of peace and stability? If, all this time, a sovereign Palestine had been building and thriving? If extremists and external forces had not had this issue to manipulate? If global investors and customers had been able to approach our region with even greater business confidence? If the Middle East were, already, the united economic powerhouse it can and should be – a regional community, speeding growth, ending poverty, creating jobs and securing the future, the future for which our young people are preparing so hard?

Let us not stand here in eight years, or even one year, thinking, ‘if only’. We can begin a different future, right now.

It starts by lifting the shadow of catastrophe. Celebrations of independence are hollow while lasting peace is still denied because of unhealed wrongs. The real day of celebration will be here, only when Palestinians and Israelis can both say: I am free. I am safe. The past is behind us.

Leaders on both sides promise their people that they will never abandon their nation’s rights. Let them also tell their people what will achieve those rights: A negotiated settlement, with all its hard choices. Nothing else will do. Not armed, unilateral action. Not barriers. Force and isolation bring false peace – and false peace is false security. After 60 years, it is past time to create a new basis for the future, one that recognises the needs of all.

For Palestinians, such agreement promises true independence: A state that can stand on its own, an intact land within sovereign borders, capable of fruitful economic life, and secure, sustainable national development. For Israelis, it brings true security: An end to conflict and relationships of respect and cooperation across the region.

Ending this conflict will have global impact. Here in the region, it is key to resolving other challenges, created or worsened by this central crisis. In Lebanon, the recent escalation brings dangerous threats of sectarian strife and revives fears of civil war. The Lebanese people are now made to pay the price of external powers’ interference. It is crucial that the Lebanese make their own decisions and resolve their own differences, independent of external influences.

My friends,

We cannot overestimate the cost of regional conflict even as we move forward. This room is full of success stories that give evidence of our people’s tremendous capability. Many of you have played leading roles, in a challenging environment, to help our region and economies advance. But a universal truth applies: To make gains against the hurdles, the citizens of conflict areas must work far harder, risk far more, than those who live in regions of stability and peace.

We must not accept such a disadvantage. And this year, God willing, we will change our place in the equation.

The Middle East is in an exceptional position to move forward. Rising global energy demand has brought abundant financial liquidity. These resources build on our region’s other positive assets – a marketplace of 250 million consumers, a deep tradition of enterprise and learning and a young population, with high aspirations and global awareness.

We need to do all we can to invest these assets in the growth of our own economies. This will make a direct contribution to our future: Raising per capita incomes, lifting poor communities, giving young people opportunities and building a platform for our businesses to compete worldwide.

It is also vital to invest in innovation. The Middle East has long experience with issues that other regions are only beginning to worry about, from water scarcity to sustainable energy. Our companies should be at the top of these emerging industries, as the leading source of creative solutions.

In all these areas, government can do much to remove constraints to growth, invest in a competitive workforce, and encourage new enterprise. Jordan’s enterprise zones are an example; first in Aqaba, and now also in communities around the country. Regional cooperation is also vital, and it is advancing with new linkages and agreements needed for a true regional market.

We cannot relax these efforts; we need to expand them. Again, Jordan and many other countries in our region have initiatives in place. Last year, the Jordan Armed Forces and several private sector businesses came together in a unique job training programme in the booming construction industry. Young apprentices received salaries and benefits equivalent to military recruits, and a job at the end of their training period.

In such efforts, there is no substitute for private-sector engagement. Our countries cannot wait for economic growth to solve all our problems, even if it could. We need, right now, to put our minds and resources together, to build structures and processes that will put our countries in position to succeed.

That means deliberate, focused development partnerships – public-private initiatives in education, health, infrastructure and more. Business has great management tools to offer. The flexibility to move quickly. Access to global capabilities and resources. And last but not least, the ability to direct resources and personnel to urgent needs.

The link between business and development falls in the area that has come to be called corporate social responsibility (CSR). There are those who think of CSR as a new term for charity or a kind of public relations. I don’t believe that we in the Middle East could ever make that mistake. Comprehensive development is a pillar of our economic future. It is essential to the success of every business here. The more effectively we work together, the faster we can change lives, build stability and create the future our people deserve. It is a moral responsibility, it is a human responsibility, and it is a business responsibility as well.

My friends,

It has been said that a great man makes more opportunities than he is given. In your meetings here at the forum, I hope you will create many new opportunities, to advance the future of your countries and region.

It starts at the top, with CEOs and CFOs, who can commit the vision and powers of your organisations. But success depends on people at every level, from professionals to trainees. Above all, let us invest in our young people, work with them, listen to them, tap their energy and respect their hopes.

I am honoured to have joined you at this World Economic Forum on the Middle East. I thank President Mubarak and the Egyptian government for hosting this conference and for the hospitality we have been shown. This year’s theme is ‘Learning from the Future’. I think that one of the most important lessons I have learned, is that tomorrow will not be ours to shape unless we start building tomorrow, today.

Together, we have a chance to make life better for millions of people – through coexistence and community: Through social and political development, through real economic opportunities.

And every advance we create now, will be multiplied exponentially when peace comes.

We must be ready.

Thank you very much.

19 May 2008

Text of Jordan King Abdullah’s remarks at Canadian Foreign Ministry 7-13-07

Following is the full text of His Majesty King Abdullah’s remarks at the Canadian Foreign Ministry’s Lester B. Pearson Building in Ottawa on Friday:Bismillah Al Rahman Al Rahim

Mr Prime Minister,

distinguished guests,

my friends,

Thank you for your warm welcome. It is an honour to be with you today. I am very aware, in this building named for the late Lester Pearson, of Canada’s long and distinguished role as a leader in global affairs and, especially, your many contributions to the future of the Middle East. Jordan’s partnership with Canada was close to the heart of my father, King Hussein, and it remains vital to all of us today. On behalf of my fellow Jordanians, I thank you all.

My friends,

When Canada’s Lester Pearson received the Nobel Peace Prize, he described the challenge facing our world not only as how to bring about a creative peace, but also, how to create a foundation for lasting security. And he understood, in a deep way, that the path forward must include an international community that comes together in consensus and mutual respect.

That was fifty years ago. Today, we are still facing the challenge of peace, security, and global respect. And it is clearer than ever that how we succeed still depends on our ability to come together, understand our shared interests and act as one.

The fact is that in the 21st century world, we share an economic and political destiny, just as much as we share the future of earth’s air and water. And in just the same way, we have a tremendous shared responsibility to work together to preserve what we value and shape the future we want: A future in which our people are safe, economic life can thrive, the heritage we treasure can be passed to our children, and where inclusive, modern, civil societies can flourish all over the globe.

In the case of Canada and Jordan, this shared vision has been the basis of an enduring partnership. Our countries have worked together to promote human security through global policy institutions and on-the-ground activities like mine removal, training Iraqi civil defence forces and much else. We share a commitment to global economic opportunity, especially for the world’s youth. And over many decades, we have been working together in the cause of peace.

One of the most important areas for our shared concern and cooperation is, without a doubt, the Middle East. It is an area where Canada has had a profound impact and, I believe, a vital position of continuing influence and respect. The very name of Ottawa is linked to some of the most pressing global issues — the Ottawa Convention against landmines and of course, the Ottawa Process to bring justice for Palestinian refugees. Where there is division, Canada’s great tradition of pluralism has helped translate across the divides. And where there are seeds of hope, your leadership has helped progress grow.

Today, I come to ask Canada, our friend, to help shape a future of peace and opportunity in the Middle East. It is a challenge, I know, to think about the future at a time of crisis. But at no time is it more necessary.

There have now been 40 years of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land — more than two generations raised in violence and frustration. The last meaningful political process between Palestinians and Israelis was so long ago that there are children in school today who were not even born then. And the potential division of the Palestinian people threatens peace prospects every single day.

These dangers are reality, but not the entire reality. Behind the headlines, millions of people on both sides need and want an end to conflict. Millions of Palestinians are united in their dream of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state. Millions of Israelis look to the day they can live in peace with their neighbours.

This is the seed of a future we must nourish. What happens on the ground in the next days and weeks is obviously critical, but the parties do not act in isolation. The international community can and must help shape the strategic direction of events. It begins by keeping the focus on the central objective. And that is a final settlement, which can stop an expansion of violence and clear the way to thriving, stable, civic life.

Arab leaders have worked intensively to move such a process forward. This March, our countries unanimously renewed the Arab Peace Initiative. It is a historic opportunity for a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement — one that brings an end to conflict, one that provides collective security guarantees for all the countries of the region including Israel, and at long last, one that provides a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine.

My friends,

This is an initiative whose time has come — a time in which we can envision, and create, a new future for my region. To meet that need, our aim must be a political process with a clear direction and outcomes. There must be a timetable that plans for, and sees to the finish line, the establishment of a Palestinian state. And it must expedite Israel’s implementation of required action, including a withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and an end to occupation.

But for all this to happen, the larger international community must be engaged. An urgent first step is support for the Palestinian National Authority, especially in its efforts to alleviate suffering and strengthen national institutions. Palestinian legitimacy must be supported in providing the governance that can fulfill people’s aspirations and needs, earn public confidence and preserve Palestinian unity.

My friends,

Achieving peace is only the beginning. Peace can only be sustained if the people of our region have the opportunity to lead a productive and satisfying life. For that to be possible, the economies of our region must maximise their potential. There are opportunities for investment in infrastructure, for participation in a growing private sector and for developing markets. In Jordan, men, women and youth are all engaged in national advances. The result is a well-defined strategy for development and reform.

Nothing is more important to the future. In my region, out of a total population of 325 million people, more than 60 per cent are 24 or younger. That represents nearly 200 million young people who need and deserve a chance for a productive and rewarding life.

These young men and women of today are truly the crossroads generation. This is a generation who can choose to respect others and reach out in cooperation, who can enrich the future with their talent, creativity and energy, and who can develop our regional economy into a strong global entity. To share in the promise of the 21st century, they need your support.

My friends,

Your great country has long been admired for its deep commitment to global fairness and justice. That leadership has never been needed more than now.

There is no doubt that the situation today is difficult. But we cannot let this stop us from acting. We must be ready to make bold decisions and decisive steps.

I ask Canada, our friend, to help. I ask you to help guide the path of peace in a region that has seen too much conflict, to open the door to prosperity for millions whose potential is yet unmet, and to welcome as a global partner, a region seeking its rightful place in the progress of our world.

Working together, we can achieve what the Middle East needs and the world needs: A future of security for this generation and the generations to come.

Thank you very much.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Related posts:

Prosperity, stability, a crucial model for other countries: Text of King Abdullah II remarks at opening of Dead Sea G-11 Economic Summit 5-19-07
Transcript of Interview, Jordan’s King Abdullah 4-10-07
The Amman Message: how Jordan understands Islam–text of remarks by King Abdullah II, November 2004
Transcript of interview with Jordan’s King Abdullah May 9, 2007 with Egyptian Al Ahram daily
Remarks by King Abdullah 5-21-07 to Nik Gowing, BBC World, at the side of G11 Economic Forum

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Posted in Jordan, King Abdullah II, Middle East, Palestine, peace. Comments Off on Text of Jordan King Abdullah’s remarks at Canadian Foreign Ministry 7-13-07

Text of King Abdullah’s message to U.S. congress March 7, 2007

The following is the text of the King’s message to Congress on March 7, 2007, taken from the Jordanian embassy website.

His Majesty King Abdullah II

Address by His Majesty King Abdullah II
Joint Meeting of Congress

March 7, 2007
Washington, DC


In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Madam Speaker,
Mr. Vice President,
Honorable Senators and Members of Congress,
My friends,

Thank you for such a warm welcome. It is an honor to stand, as my father did, before this historic institution. Allow me to thank you, on behalf of all Jordanians.

Jordan and the United States have had a long friendship. It is a special privilege to be here in the year that the American Congress welcomes its first woman Speaker, and its first Muslim-American member of Congress. These milestones send a message around the world about the America I know so well, a place where individuality is nurtured, a place where hard work is rewarded, a place where achievement is celebrated. The America I know so well believes that opportunity and justice belong to all.

In my days in Massachusetts, I also learned something of New England virtues. There wasn’t actually a law against talking too much, but there was definitely an attitude that you didn’t speak unless you could improve on silence.

Today, I must speak; I cannot be silent.

I must speak about a cause that is urgent for your people and for mine. I must speak about peace in the Middle East. I must speak about peace replacing the division, war, and conflict that have brought such disaster for the region and for the world.

This was the cause that brought my father King Hussein here in 1994. With Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin beside him, he spoke of a new vision for the Middle East. Their courageous work for peace received bipartisan support from your leaders. And there was tremendous hope for a new era. There was tremendous hope that people would be brought together. There was tremendous hope that a final and comprehensive settlement of all the issues would be achieved.

Thirteen years later, that work is still not completed. And until it is, we are all at risk. We are all at risk of being victims of further violence resulting from ideologies of terror and hatred. It is our greatest and most urgent duty to prevent such dangers to our region, to your country and to the world. The choice is ours: an open world full of promise, progress and justice for all; or a closed world of divided peoples, fear, and unfulfilled dreams. Nothing impacts this choice more than the future of peace in the Middle East.

I come to you today at a rare, and indeed historic, moment of opportunity, when there is a new international will to end the catastrophe. And I believe that America, with its enduring values, its moral responsibility, and yes, its unprecedented power, must play the central role.

Some may say, ‘Peace is difficult, we can live with the status quo.’ But, my friends, violent killings are taking place as part of this status quo. Palestinians and Israelis are not the only victims. We saw the violence ricochet into destruction in Lebanon last summer. And people around the world have been the victims of terrorists and extremists, who use the grievances of this conflict to legitimize and encourage acts of violence. Americans and Jordanians and others have suffered and survived terrorist attacks. In this room, there are representatives of American families and Jordanian families who have lost loved ones. Thousands of people have paid the highest price, the loss of their life. Thousands more continue to pay this terrible price, for their loved ones will never return. Are we going to let these thousands of lives be taken in vain? Has it become acceptable to lose that most basic of human rights? The right to live?

The status quo is also pulling the region and the world towards greater danger. As public confidence in the peace process has dropped, the cycle of crises is spinning faster, and with greater potential for destruction. Changing military doctrine and weaponry pose new dangers. Increasing numbers of external actors are intervening with their own strategic agendas, raising new dangers of proliferation and crisis. These are groups that seek even more division: faith against faith, nation against nation, community against community. Any further erosion in the situation would be serious for the future of moderation and coexistence, in the region and beyond. Have we all lost the will to live together in peace celebrating one another’s strengths and differences?

Some may say, ‘But there are other, urgent challenges.’ How can there be anything more urgent than the restoration of a world where all people, not only some people, all people have the opportunity to live peacefully? This is not only a moral imperative, it is essential to the future of our world, because long-term, violent crisis is the enemy of all global prosperity and progress.

Certainly, our era faces critical issues. There is great public concern here, just as in our region, about the conflict in Iraq. The entire international community has vital decisions to make about the path forward, and how to ensure Iraq’s security, unity, and future. But we cannot lose sight of a profound reality. The wellspring of regional division, the source of resentment and frustration far beyond, is the denial of justice and peace in Palestine.

There are those who say, ‘It’s not our business.’ But this Congress knows: there are no bystanders in the 21st Century, there are no curious onlookers, there is no one who is not affected by the division and hatred that is present in our world.
Some will say: ‘This is not the core issue in the Middle East.’ I come here today as your friend to tell you that this is the core issue. And this core issue is not only producing severe consequences for our region, it is producing severe consequences for our world.

The security of all nations and the stability of our global economy are directly affected by the Middle East conflict. Across oceans, the conflict has estranged societies that should be friends. I meet Muslims thousands of miles away who have a deep, personal response to the suffering of the Palestinian people. They want to know how it is, that ordinary Palestinians are still without rights and without a country. They ask whether the West really means what it says about equality and respect and universal justice.

Yes, my friends, today I must speak. I cannot be silent.

Sixty years of Palestinian dispossession, forty years under occupation, a stop-and-go peace process, all this has left a bitter legacy of disappointment and despair, on all sides. It is time to create a new and different legacy, one that begins right now; one that can set a positive tone for the American and Middle East relationship; one that can restore hope to our region’s people, to your people, and to the people of this precious world. Nothing can achieve that more effectively, nothing can assert America’s moral vision more clearly, nothing can reach and teach the world’s youth more directly, than your leadership in a peace process that delivers results not next year, not in five years, but this year.

How do we get there? Not by a solution imposed by one side. A lasting peace can only be built on understanding, agreement and compromise.

It begins with courage and vision. We, all of us, must take risks for peace. The Arab states recognized that reality in 2002, when we unanimously approved the Arab Peace Initiative. It puts forward a path for both sides, to achieve what people want and need: a collective peace treaty with Israel and normal relations with every Arab state, collective security guarantees for all the countries of the region, including Israel, an end to the conflict, a dream every Israeli citizen has longed for since the creation of Israel, and an agreed solution to the refugee problem, a withdrawal from Arab territories occupied since 1967, and a sovereign, viable, and independent Palestine.

The commitment we made in the Arab Peace Initiative is real. And our states are involved in ongoing efforts to advance a fair, just, and comprehensive peace. His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia initiated the 2002 proposal; today, he continues to rally international support. Momentum is also building among Muslim countries outside the Arab world. Ten days ago, in Islamabad, the foreign ministers of key Muslim states met. They came together to assure Palestinians and Israelis that they are not alone, that we back their effort to make and build peace.

The goal must be a peace in which all sides gain. It must be anchored in security and opportunity for all.

It must be a peace that will free young Palestinians to focus on a future of progress and prosperity.

It must be a peace that makes Israel a part of the neighborhood, a neighborhood that extends from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, across the breadth of the southern Mediterranean, to the coast of the Indian Ocean.

It must be a peace that enables the entire region to look forward with excitement and hope, putting its resources into productive growth, partnering across borders to advance development, finding opportunities, and solving common challenges.

This goal is visionary, but my friends, it is attainable. History shows that longtime adversaries can define new relationships of peace and cooperation. The groundwork for a comprehensive, final settlement is already in place. At Taba, as in the Geneva Accords, the parties have outlined the parameters of the solution.

But we need all hands on deck. The international community, especially the United States, must be engaged in moving the process forward to achieve real results. Above all, we must make our process serve our purpose. We must achieve an agreed solution to the conflict.

Madam Speaker,
Mr. Vice President,
Honorable Members,

Your responsibility today is paramount. Your potential to help Palestinians and Israelis find peace is unrivalled. This is because the people of the region still regard the United States as the key to peace, the one country most capable of bringing the two sides closer together, holding them accountable, and making a just settlement reality.

Time after time, there has been progress towards peace when Americans have actively engaged. Camp David, Madrid, Wye River: nearly every breakthrough was accomplished when America was determined to help the parties succeed.

On behalf of all those who seek and strive for peace in my part of the world, I ask you now to exert that leadership once again. We ask you to join with us in an historic effort of courage and vision. We ask you to hear our call, to honor the spirit of King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin, and help fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace today.

Let me reaffirm that Jordan is committed to playing a positive role in the peace process. It is part of our larger commitment to global co-existence and progress. Ours is an Islamic country with a proud record of diversity, moderation, and shared respect.

Allow me to say, we thank the Congress and the Administration for supporting Jordan’s progress and development. I deeply value the partnership between our peoples, and the contributions of so many Americans to the future of our country.

My friends,

“A decent respect for the rights and dignity of all nations, large and small.” That’s how President Roosevelt – the great F.D.R. – described the basis of American foreign policy. He pledged American support for the four freedoms, freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, everywhere in the world.

The Four Freedoms speech was given right here, before Congress. And that’s entirely fitting. Because it is here in the People’s House, that the voices and values of America have made hope real for so many people.

Today, the people of the Middle East are searching for these four freedoms. Today, the people of the Middle East are searching for new hope, hope for a future of prosperity and peace. We have seen the danger and destruction of violence, hatred, and injustice. But we have also seen what people can achieve when they are empowered, when they break down walls, when they commit to the future. And we know that Middle East peace can be a global beginning, creating new possibilities for our region and the entire world.

We look to you to play an historic role. Eleven American presidents and thirty American congresses have already faced this ongoing crisis. For not the future generation, but the generation alive today, let us say together: No more! Let us say together: Let’s solve this! Let us say together: Yes, we will achieve this!

No Palestinian father should be helpless to feed his family and build a future for his sons and daughters. No Israeli mother should fear when her child boards a bus. Not one more generation should grow up thinking that violence and conflict are the norm.

As Roosevelt also said, “the justice of morality must and will win in the end.” But he knew that it was up to responsible nations to stand up for justice when injustice threatens.

This is our challenge as well. And we must not leave it to another generation to meet this challenge.

Thirteen years ago, my father was here to talk about his hopes for peace. Today, we are talking about a promise that is within our reach.

We can wait no longer and that is why I am here before you. We must work together to restore Palestine, a nation in despair and without hope. We must work together to restore peace, hope and opportunity to the Palestinian people. And in so doing, we will begin a process of building peace, not only throughout the region, but throughout the world. How much more bloodshed and how many more lives will it cost for this grave situation to be resolved?

I say: No more bloodshed and no more lives pointlessly taken!

The young boy, traveling to school with his brother in Palestine, let him have a life of peace.

The mother, watching with fear as her children board a bus in Israel, let her have a life of peace.

The father in Lebanon, working hard to provide an education for his children, let him have a life of peace.

The little girl, born in Iraq, with her wide eyes full of wonder, let her have a life of peace.

The family, together eating their evening meal, in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East, let them all have a life of peace.

Today my friends, we must speak; we cannot be silent.

The next time a Jordanian, a Palestinian, or an Israeli comes before you, let it be to say: Thank you for helping peace become a reality.

Thank you very much.

Posted in Jordan, King Abdullah II, Middle East, peace. Comments Off on Text of King Abdullah’s message to U.S. congress March 7, 2007

Text of Jordan King Abdullah II interview with JTV 8-31-07

king-8-31-07.jpgThe following interview of Jordan’s King Abdullah II on JTV was published in the Jordan Times 9-2-07. The King reiterates that Jordan is for all Jordanians regardless of political persuasion or tribal affiliation and at the very end clarifies the idea of federation and confederation:

Following is the transcript of His Majesty King Abdullah’s interview with JTV on Friday:

JTV: Your Majesty, in your last interview with JTV, you spoke about holding municipal and legislative elections during this year regardless of the difficult regional situation. Municipal elections were held and now we have parliamentary elections. What does Your Majesty hope for these elections and what do you say to your people in this regard?

King: These good, giving people deserve from us a lot of hard work for their sake, and for a better future for the coming generations. We should continue our efforts to enhance democracy in the country and provide an atmosphere of freedom and openness that enables our citizens to participate in decision-making.

We are committed to holding, this year, fair parliamentary elections, in which all participate, because Jordan is for all citizens, regardless of their political or tribal affiliations.

We hope that elections will return a strong Parliament that will meet the expectations and challenges facing our country.

Neither the security situation nor the most recent dangerous developments in the region will stop our modernisation and development. I have confidence that people are capable of surmounting all of these challenges and of holding parliamentary elections. We are counting on people’s awareness and ability to choose whoever is the best, the most efficient and the most capable of representing them and serving the homeland’s interests.

JTV: Your Majesty, regarding difficult economic conditions, how do you foresee future economic developments in the country?

King: I am personally aware of the citizens’ daily concerns about the difficult economic conditions. These conditions are the result of several domestic and regional factors. We cannot control the regional factors, but preparation and readiness to meet these conditions are better than wasting time in complaining and regretting that such conditions exist.

In order to face up to these conditions, an integrated social safety net must be established that guarantees for Jordanian citizens basic health and comprehensive social services, housing and a decent life for every citizen.

JTV: Your Majesty, what about the long-term or strategic plans which have been made to improve the people’s livelihood?

King: Definitely there are. The aforementioned thoughts are part of the efforts exerted to improve the citizens’ livelihood and economic situation. There are plans and efforts to deal with several economic problems; primary among them is the public debt.

The largest part of our international effort aims to reduce this debt and attract more investment. My recent visit to Kazakhstan and other states could be categorised in this direction. The debt issue was also discussed recently with some major donor states and organisations, primary among them the countries of the G-8. We are encouraging them to buy these debts or exchange them for developmental investments that would contribute to job creation and poverty alleviation.

I discussed this issue with the German chancellor, the French president, the American president and the Canadian prime minister. Soon we will have continuous communications with Japanese officials, including the Japanese prime minister. We hope that all these efforts will lead to a positive outcome and reduce the debt burden.

JTV: Your Majesty, despite achievements and high growth rates, some believe that citizens are shouldering additional burdens. When will people start feeling economic benefits?

King: Any process meant to improve the existing economic situation needs time and understanding by our people of thenature of this process. It needs sincere hard work from the ministers and responsible officials in follow-up and implementation of the economic initiatives that have been launched, and in launching other new initiatives.

Objectively speaking, Jordan has already realised several achievements in the spheres of economic development, growth rates and enhancing market capacity to absorb the labour force. This has happened in spite of regional conditions surrounding us and the increasing price of oil.

On the other hand, future economic plans and projects, a great number of which are still in the implementation phase, aim in the first place, to fairly redistribute development returns to all the Kingdom’s regions. In this context, we established special economic and development zones in different areas, such as Mafraq and Irbid, and, God willing, we will establish such zones in Maan and Azraq. Through these zones we seek to create projects that would employ the workforce in these areas. Industrial cities and zones have also been established in most of the Kingdom’s governorates.

Talking about this matter reminds us of the support to Jordan by the Arab states. We convey our sincere thanks to the leaders of these states, primary among them the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz and the government of Saudi Arabia for their support for Jordan. We appreciate the recent Saudi initiative to contribute to the construction of a new housing city in Zarqa that aims at improving the economic and living conditions of a wide sector of our people.

JTV: Your Majesty, on the peace process, sometimes there is optimism that it is moving forward… and at other moments, developments occur that take the whole process back to square one. How does Your Majesty see the future?

King: In spite of the stumbling of the peace process, and in spite of all the events and recent developments that are taking place in Palestine and Iraq, we are still optimistic regarding the future. We are working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace that provides security and stability to the region.

The American president’s invitation for holding an international peace conference this autumn was the result of Jordan’s numerous efforts with Arab states and other friendly states, especially following the Arab summit held in Riyadh, to put the peace process back on the right track.

We consider this conference, in which Jordan will participate, a positive step towards realising the peace to which we aspire, and we hope that the conference will be a significant opportunity to resolve the core conflict in the region between Israelis and Palestinians, in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

JTV: Your Majesty, now the Palestinian discord presents another threatening dimension to the peace process. How do you view this situation?

King: Definitely… and our Palestinian brothers should benefit from this opportunity to unify their efforts and stances. The separation of Gaza from the West Bank is unacceptable at both the Palestinian and Arab levels.

When we talk about a Palestinian state, we mean a state that is established on Palestinian lands in Gaza and the West Bank. So we call upon all our Palestinian brothers to let sound judgment and reason prevail, and to unify their ranks to surmount their suffering and realise their legitimate national goals and ambitions.

JTV: Your Majesty, the extremists from both sides try to undermine the progress achieved in the peace process. What can we do to stop these people? And what is specifically required from Israel?

King: We in Jordan are aware of all these attempts that seek to preserve the state of instability in the region. It is regrettable that there are states and other actors that prefer to maintain the status quo. Since the reign of my great grandfather, there have been several initiatives to find a solution to the conflict in Palestine; had the political forces in the Arab-Islamic world and the international community accepted these initiatives, things would not be as they are today.

Regrettably, some people opposed these initiatives – including the 1947 Palestine partition plan which guaranteed the establishment of a Palestinian state.

It is time to translate the efforts that have been exerted into real actions on the ground. It is time for Israel to recognise the rights of the Palestinian people and to realise that if it wants to be recognised by Arab and Islamic states and to have a future in this region, it should act and cooperate for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian land.

JTV: Your Majesty, while there are parties that seek to obstruct the peace process, others are targeting Jordan by bringing up the issues of federation and confederation. What do these people want from Jordan?

King: Confederation with whom? And on what basis? Is it a confederation with the Palestinian people? Or with the PLO? Or with any other Palestinian organisation? I want answers to these questions. I would like also to inquire about the reason for asking this question always at certain moments, especially when the international community has intensified its call on Israel to abide by resolutions of international legitimacy and the establishment of the Palestinian state.

What we all know is that confederation is a relation between two states that enjoy complete independence, sovereignty over territory with clearly defined geographic borders. Our stance on this matter is clear, and we have declared that stance on several occasions, but it appears that some media personalities and some politicians – and it is regrettable to say that a number of them are in Jordan – do not want to listen and instead wish to continue with this suspicious role, fishing in stagnant waters. So any talk about federation or confederation before the establishment of an independent Palestinian state is suspect, unreasonable and intended to stir discord. It is completely unacceptable.

Posted in King Abdullah II, الأردن. Comments Off on Text of Jordan King Abdullah II interview with JTV 8-31-07

Text of Jordan’s King Abdullah’s remarks to Al Ghad daily July 1, 2007

The following was published in The Jordan Times July 2, 2007. Articles remain online for one week.

Following is the official translation of King Abdullah’s interview with Al Ghad daily, published on Sunday:
Al Ghad: Your Majesty participated several days ago in the four-way summit with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli prime minister in Sharm El Sheikh. Has the summit achieved what you hoped it would?King: I would have liked to see more achievements for the Palestinians. The atmosphere of meetings was positive to a certain extent. We had wanted to revive the political process, but regardless of what we do as Arab and Islamic or Western states, without a clear Israeli plan that outlines what it hopes to achieve in the next few months, whatever is done will be ineffective. Unless Israel commits to required procedures to achieve peace, our own efforts will lead nowhere. Our message to Israel, whether before or during the summit, was that they needed to show us their intentions towards the Palestinian people. The peace that everyone aspires to can’t be achieved unless Israel outlines specific timelines from now into the coming months. This comes as we are working internationally to gain support for the Palestinian people and resume negotiations. This has been the thrust of my recent talks with American officials, with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is EU president and president of the G-8, and with the new British prime minister, Gordon Brown, and this will be the main message of my talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy when I visit France Wednesday, and in Portugal, which will hold the rotating EU presidency next. We do not aspire to just an effective American role but also a powerful European participation, where all eyes will be on the peace process and how to bring back the Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiating table, according to a clear plan.

Al Ghad: Is there any way to pressure Israel to convince it of the need to move towards peace, and distance Olmert from his tactical calculations towards practical or actual steps towards peace?

King: Don’t forget that there was movement before the summit. There were contacts between Jordan and Egypt, and coordination and cooperation among the moderate Arab states, with the aim of pushing Israel to take real steps towards peace. I went to the quadrilateral summit despite the fact that I was not necessarily convinced that we would achieve everything that we wanted. But our duty is to do whatever we can to support the Palestinians. Over the coming days we will see how Israel moves on issues like prisoner release, releasing Palestinian funds and organising meetings between the two sides. There has to be specific, measurable criteria according to which the world can evaluate Israeli policies towards the peace process.

Al Ghad: The latest events in Palestine which led to Hamas asserting control over Gaza and the dissolution of the national unity government have been an unprecedented blow in the history of the Palestinians. To what extent does Your Majesty think it is possible to control the situation and how can it be done?

King: We feel sorrow and anger about what has happened. The Palestinian arena is sliding down a dangerous path, and the repercussions of these events threaten the unity of the Palestinian people, who have fought for decades to restore their legitimate rights and establish an independent state on their national soil. We are concerned about the situation in the Palestinian territories, and we are calling for a return to Palestinian legitimacy and for maintaining the unity between the West Bank and Gaza as one entity in order to preserve Palestinian interests. The status quo exposes the Palestinian situation to chaos, which is absolutely unacceptable and weakens the position of Arabs and Palestinians. This situation serves the enemies of the Palestinian people and constrains Palestinian aspirations to end the Israeli occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state. We call on our brothers in Palestine to exercise reason and fix the situation, and urge them not to adopt a policy of imposing the status quo. On-the-ground “victories” that are not of a Palestinian nationalist nature, amid continued occupation, are definitely not in the Palestinian interest. We warn here that the separation of Gaza from the West Bank will have catastrophic consequences for the Palestinians, especially those in Gaza who are exhausted by the siege.

Al Ghad: What is the solution, in Your Majesty’s opinion?

King: As I mentioned earlier, the Palestinian cause must supersede all other interests. We do not want to give Israel or any other party a pretext to say that the Palestinians are divided and they do not know with whom to negotiate. Continued infighting and the collapse of Palestinian unity exacerbates and sidetracks the problem and will set it back by years. Here, we call for commitment to the legitimacy of the Palestinian National Authority that represents the Palestinian people. There should also be a concerted effort to break the deadlock in the peace process and relaunch real and serious negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel that will result in a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue, and move towards a Palestinian state that will provide the Palestinian people with security, freedom and stability. Undoubtedly, the threat to the Palestinian cause is tremendous, and efforts to address it should be rapid and responsible. Those who want to deny justice to the Palestinians should not be given the chance to do so. This can only be done by returning to Palestinian legitimacy and the formulation of a Palestinian position that gives the Palestinians’ friends and supporters the ability to push for a revival of a peace process that will end the injustice.

Al Ghad: How concerned is Jordan about the repercussions of the Gaza events? Does Your Majesty fear that these events will affect Jordan?

King: We are not concerned about Jordan. Our confidence in our people is tremendous. Jordan has been for years surrounded by regional, sectarian and ethnic conflict and tension. Thank God, our unity and our people’s awareness of the dangers surrounding us has fortified our country against the repercussions of the conflicts surrounding it. Our concern is for the Palestinian people, who alone pay for what is happening in the Palestinian territories in terms of siege, hunger, infighting and loss of hope. In addition to our brotherly position and historic ties to the Palestinians, Jordan has political, strategic and security interests in the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Al Ghad: Does Your Majesty think there is a real chance for serious peace negotiations in light of the Israeli government’s weakness, especially now that with events in Gaza, it can negate an independent Palestinian state and push towards the so-called West Bank first, which would give Palestinians their daily rights but close the file of political rights.

King: There is no doubt that the situation is difficult. But Israel will not achieve the security it seeks unless it responds to Palestinian political rights. Briefly, the security of Israel is hostage to the security and stability of the Palestinians. That is why we will continue to pressure Israel directly and through the international community to commit it to implementing international resolutions that correspond to the establishment of a Palestinian state as a prerequisite for the region’s stability. It is necessary to end the suffering of the Palestinian people and to improve their living conditions. Nothing but the establishment of a Palestinian state can solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Slogans have luster, and many people thrive on them. But the reality is that the Palestinians face a solid enemy that works according to programmes and plans. This reality must be dealt with objectively, and we must work on achievement instead of appealing to emotions, which will only lead to even greater harm to the Palestinians. There is Arab consensus on the Arab Peace Initiative, and there is an international position that supports the restoration of Palestinian rights. The Palestinians are obligated to put their house in order so that we may exert more effort to help them.

Al Ghad: Does Your Majesty fear a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, and is there any way to protect the residents of Gaza from any plans to isolate them and Hamas’ control over Gaza?

King: We have done and will continue to do our duty in Jordan towards our people in Gaza, and in our conversations and discussions with international powers, we emphasise the need to help the Palestinian people in Gaza by ensuring the flow of aid and other assistance. There is no difference between Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. All Palestinians are our family, and whoever thinks that he can distinguish among the Palestinian people is plain wrong. The cause is one, the struggle is one. And we will stand by them and for them.

Al Ghad: The events in Palestine have revived the issue of confederation with Jordan, or the administrative annexation of the West Bank to Jordan as a way out of the crisis. Despite Jordan’s emphasis that confederation before independence is not an option, there are those who speak of Israeli and American pressure on Jordan to accept this arrangement.

King: We’ve grown tired of discussing this issue. Our position is clear and has been made public. No one can do anything to change it. We refuse the notion of confederation or federation. This proposal at this stage is a conspiracy against both Palestine and Jordan. Our position is clear and principled. We cannot accept these solutions, no matter what the pressures are. As for the future relationship with Palestine, it’s premature to discuss it. This will only be done after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian soil. The Jordanian and Palestinian people will decide the form of this relationship. Jordanians refuse any settlement of the Palestinian issue at their expense. I say clearly that the idea of confederation or federation, or what is called administrative responsibility, is a conspiracy against the Palestinian cause, and Jordan will not involve itself in it. Despite that, and as we have stressed earlier, once the Palestinian decision is sovereign and once a state of law and institutions is established west of the river on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the form of relationship between Jordan and Palestine will be a decision of the people. Everyone knows that the only solution is the establishment of a Palestinian state, and Israel should clarify what it wants. If it wants permanent and lasting peace, it has to move quickly towards that solution. It must explain to the Palestinians, the Arabs and the rest of the world what it wants. We will continue to monitor the situation, and we will not hesitate to confront any plan, whether from Israel or elsewhere, that evades the condition for peace: the establishment of a Palestinian state. We will continue to work, discuss and exert pressure to achieve that. Whoever wants peace should not circumvent its conditions by advancing alternative proposals, such as confederation and federation. Those who want peace should exert every possible effort to reach a two-state solution.

Al Ghad: Your Majesty, is this a message to Israel?

King: This is a message to Israel and to everyone who tries to solve the issue at the expense of Jordan and the Palestinians.

Al Ghad: There are those who accuse Jordan of siding with one party against the other in the Palestinian arena, who argue that Jordan is biased towards President Abbas in his conflict with Hamas. How does Your Majesty respond to these accusations?

King: We are biased in favour of the Palestinian right. We deal with the Palestinian Authority and support it with all our might in order that it can achieve its objective to end the injustice on the Palestinians and establish the independent Palestinian state. We deal with governments, not parties. We do not accept, just as no country in the world would accept, that a state establishes ties with a particular party in another state. The PA is Palestinian legitimacy, and we deal with that. And let’s be frank. States that deal with parties are those that want to exploit these parties to advance their own interests and agendas. History is replete with such examples. No state has ever supported a party within that state just because it has beautiful eyes. We have no agenda but to help the Palestinian people restore their rights, and we believe its legitimate institutions represent this nation, and hence we support those institutions and their programmes that seek to achieve independence and dignity for the Palestinian people.

Al Ghad: Some voices say that international support for President Abbas may cost him his credibility, because there is a prevailing impression that international support is against Hamas, not necessarily to achieve Palestinian rights. What is the support that Abbas needs?

King: Once again let me emphasise that whoever seeks to divide the Palestinian people is exposing this nation to more catastrophe. Despite the existence of states and other actors who would use Palestinian suffering to serve their own agendas, there are many who work in earnest to help the Palestinians. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and most Arab and Muslim states do not want the Palestinians’ suffering to continue, and many world countries know that there can be no security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East without a solution that delivers justice to the Palestinians. We are aware that the support that President Abbas wants and needs is support to relaunch the peace process and advance it towards a solution that ends the occupation. We realise the causes of the crisis and the conditions for its resolution, and in all our efforts we stress that supporting President Abbas is to support a just cause and the conditions that enable him to serve his people, improve their living conditions and respond to their political rights.

Al Ghad: Does Your Majesty expect progress in resolving regional crises in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, or do you expect tensions to escalate this summer?

King: It all depends on what is achieved over the next few months. The problem is that each party fears the other side. That is why we are witnessing an unprecedented state of mobilisation. We will intensify our efforts to alleviate these tensions, but the parties directly concerned are the only ones capable of resolving these conflicts. We support our brothers in Iraq with all our ability to achieve security and stability and to overcome the chaos there. We support Lebanon’s stability and stand by those who seek to preserve the country as a secure and stable country where no one interferes in its affairs. We stand by its legitimate institutions and call on the Lebanese to put the interests of Lebanon and the Lebanese first. Naturally, our message to Israel is to end the occupation and end the suffering of the Palestinian people as the only way to achieve its own security and regional stability.

Al Ghad: Does Your Majesty think that regional tensions are partly a result of conflicts between two agendas: one supportive of radical forces and the other supportive of moderate forces? What can moderate forces do to strengthen people’s acceptance of its programmes?

King: I will speak here about our programme and will not discuss those of others. The issues are clear for anyone who wants to see them. We want to build a model nation that is capable, secure and democratic; one that opens horizons so that its sons and daughters may achieve. We realise that the security and prosperity of the region are interconnected. Those who believe in the people’s right to freedom and a life of dignity should work to promote the culture of life and confront the powers that promote a culture of violence and intolerance. We believe that economic reform is inevitable and there is no alternative to it, and we will continue our reform programme until the end. Those who undermine people’s intelligence and arrogate to themselves the right as custodians are wrong. Our objective is reform that flows from renaissance and enlightenment. We are confident that with the awareness of our people and their sense of belonging, our project for Jordan’s future will triumph, God willing. Moderate forces in the region are many, and they are making tremendous efforts to entrench our programme, which aims to build a better future for people. Voices of moderation should be raised because they want the best interests of their people and to serve their causes. Moderate states should remain effective and continue to move and coordinate and meet in order to reach their objective of achieving security and prosperity for the region’s peoples. Any regression in the effectiveness in moderate states will be in the interest of those who stoke tension. I assure you that we will remain effective.

Al Ghad: What is the fate of the Arab Peace Initiative in light of the escalating conditions in the region, and what are the possibilities of achieving its objectives?

King: The initiative, to which the Arab leaders renewed their commitment in Riyadh, aims to revive the peace process and establish a just solution to the Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict that has gone on for decades now. We worked diligently after the Riyadh summit to revive the initiative and promote it both regionally and internationally. I met with Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals and opinion leaders to encourage them to explain the initiative amongst moderate forces in their communities and to emphasise the need to adopt it in order to achieve peace and end the state of conflict. We knew that there would be others who would try to derail this initiative and to create circumstances that would obstruct any movement forward. We warned our Palestinian brothers about the dangers of internal strife and division and the ramifications this would have on our ability to find a permanent peace settlement and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. We are determined, in spite of the critical conditions, to achieve a breakthrough in the peace process that will restore to its owners their rights and spare the region an escalation and expansion of conflict. There must be an urgent revision of the Arab position, and intense efforts among all parties to prevent the current deterioration in the Palestinian arena.

Al Ghad: How does Your Majesty view Jordanian-Saudi relations, particularly in light of the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to Jordan? Has this relationship reached the level to which you aspire?

King: Thank God, the relationship is strategic, and the trust between the Custodian of the Mosques and I is extremely strong. God willing, the Jordanian-Saudi relationship will be a model for other Arab states. I am extremely comfortable with the quality of our relations. Coordination between moderate Arab states is at its best levels. The visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques was successful by all standards. We discussed all problematic files, including the Palestinian issue and the situation in Iraq and Lebanon. Our points of view are similar on all issues, to a large extent. We both oppose regional interference in these issues. Here I would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his honourable and principled stand in support of us. Saudi economic assistance we receive has contributed to the Kingdom’s economic and financial stability, and enabled us to initiate several development projects in different regions of the country. Once again, our relationship with Saudi Arabia is a model for Arab ties. We are confident that this relationship will develop and improve and will be in the service of Arab and Islamic issues.

Al Ghad: There are views that say the current elections law will result in a Parliament that is similar to the current legislature. What does Your Majesty think?

King: We are constantly striving to foster the democratic process in Jordan. And we continue to aspire to political parties that have clear programmes and policies addressing people’s social, economic and other concerns and that win the admiration and support of the voters and that strengthen democracy, inclusion and pluralism. We anticipate having real and effective party life where parties produce candidates who are elected on the basis of the party’s political programmes. Unfortunately, many parties are still unable to act effectively on the political scene or convince the people of the importance of participating in party work. In the end, we want a Parliament that is strong, and meets the expectations and aspirations of our people and that is able to address the challenges that we face. We count on the awareness of the sons and daughters of our nation to participate in decision-making by electing the person they see as the most capable and appropriate for this phase. Elections will happen this year. I have said from the beginning that there will be municipal and parliamentary elections, and that is what will happen. We want the elections to push Jordan in the right direction. Jordanian citizens are able to distinguish between those who can deliver progress and advance the project of renaissance and those who obstruct it. We want the votes of Jordanians to overcome the challenges the country and the region face. Here, I would like to say to Jordanian youth, I count on them to participate en masse in the elections and give their support to those who can achieve our aspirations which are theirs, and our vision for building Jordan, which is their vision. I meet them regularly and every time I do, they raise my morale. I count on them, and when I sit with them, I am optimistic about Jordan’s future. Jordan’s future requires that words, vision and ideas are translated into tangible actions. Participation in elections is a key step towards translating this vision.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Posted in Jordan, King Abdullah II, Middle East, Palestine, peace, الأردن. Comments Off on Text of Jordan’s King Abdullah’s remarks to Al Ghad daily July 1, 2007