Question of Palestine home
"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
8 February 2008
His Majesty King Abdullah II
's Interview with
on the eve of
visit to Russia.
Your Majesty, how do you estimate the relations of Russia and Jordan? How do you think the agreements you made during those visits are being carried out? In which particular field or fields is there most progress? And in which there still yet more to be achieved?
Let me begin by saying that I am looking forward to this visit. I will be meeting both President Putin and First Deputy Prime Minister Medvedev while I am in Moscow to discuss how our ties can be further consolidated. We have been honoured by President Putin's commitment to developing and expanding Russia's relations with Jordan during his tenure, and I congratulate him on his service as president.
Our relations are excellent, both at the political level and in terms of cultural exchange. Russia's involvement in the Middle East peace process is very much appreciated, and it will be vital in the months to come as Palestinians and Israelis begin to discuss final status issues. ...
Your Majesty, what are your priorities regarding your foreign policy?
Jordan's top priority is Middle East peace, beginning with the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. But we are also doing everything we can to support security, stability and national reconciliation in Iraq and Lebanon. Our region needs peace; too many people have suffered for too long. Protracted conflict has also delayed the socio-economic development of most of the countries in the region. ...
Your Majesty, Jordan is playing a hugely vital role in the Middle East peace process. You have good relations with Israel. What in your estimation is the most suitable way to bring about a successful solution on the issues dividing countries in the Middle East?
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is the core conflict in our region, and if the parties can arrive at a just, negotiated settlement, they will take our region one large step closer to security and stability. The process that started in Annapolis, is, from our perspective a positive development. But it also may be our last chance for peace for many, many years to come. So it is especially important for the international community to stay engaged. We know from experience that, although the parties themselves have to take the tough decisions and do the negotiating, they have been unable to move forward without the support and involvement of the international community. This is something that helps both sides feel confident in the realm of politics and diplomacy, and helps them take actions on the ground towards each other that help build confidence on the ground among people. International engagement is important right now, and it will become more so as the parties approach final status talks.
Jordan is one of a core group of Arab states that is committed to fostering an environment of confidence between the parties. Together, we have advanced a proposal not just for Israeli-Palestinian peace, but for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative would create two states - Israel and an independent Palestinian state - living alongside each other in peace and security. It supports an agreed solution to the Palestinian refugee question and envisions collective security guarantees for all the countries of the region including Israel. The initiative reflects the principles of international legality embodied in the UN Security Council resolutions - 194, 242 and 338 - pertaining to the conflict. Since the resumption of talks between the parties, which began last November in Annapolis, we have also spoken in one voice about the importance of both sides upholding their respective commitments outlined in the Road Map. Our job, the Arab states and the international community, is to empower them to do so. We need to fully support President Abbas in areas such as institution-building, especially strengthening capacity in the area of security, and in stimulating the Palestinian economy, which has been terribly damaged by Israeli restrictions on the free movement of goods and people and international sanctions.
In this regard, Russia's support for President Abbas and the Palestinian National Authority is very much appreciated, especially in terms of training of security personnel. And obviously, as Palestinians and Israelis move forward, Russia can play a valuable supportive role in achieving a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement.
Your Majesty, what message would you like to give to Russian people aheadof your latest visit to the country?
... At this time in particular, when there is great opportunity for peace in my region, I would also like to underscore to the Russian people the importance of their country's role in the Middle East. Russia's support to the peace process is key in helping Palestinians and Israelis overcome obstacles in the coming period, and Jordan wishes to thank Russia for its attention to this core conflict in my region - one that can have global repercussions if not resolved fairly and quickly.