Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

8 February 1999


Following is the text of the statement delivered by the President of the fifty-third session of the General Assembly, Didier Opertti (Uruguay), at the special meeting to pay tribute to King Hussein of Jordan:

Yesterday the world was shaken by the wrenching news of the death of one of the great public figures of this century, King Hussein Ibn Talal of Jordan. The President of the General Assembly shares the grief of his family and his people, whom he served with the far-sightedness, self-denial and distinction of great leaders.

The Arab nation and the entire world have lost a figure of exceptional virtues. His wisdom, courage and generosity of spirit enabled him to make an extraordinary contribution to his country and to the cause of peace in the turbulent region in which it was his lot to be born, to live and to reign. From the time of his accession to the throne, he dedicated himself with such fervour and devotion to that cause that he himself came to be viewed as a symbol of the unending search for peace.

During his reign of more than 40 years, King Hussein was an inspiring and guiding spirit to the forces that were striving for security and stability in his region and in the rest of the world. As a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, of the forty-second generation, the King was admired as an ardent defender of the faith and for the role which he played in the unification and consolidation of the modern Jordanian State.

We will greatly miss his intelligence and his tireless efforts as a statesman, diplomat, conciliator and mediator, focused always on the goal of establishing peace. That which he symbolized and exemplified, however, will always be a touchstone for those who are struggling to realize the ideals and purposes of the United Nations. His spiritual presence will certainly remain with us and with future generations, inspiring all of us, particularly the peoples and Governments of the Middle East, to persevere on the difficult path leading to the attainment of lasting peace for all.

The presidency of the General Assembly expresses its deepest solidarity to the people and Government of Jordan in connection with such a grievous loss.

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