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Palestinian cause will remain foremost concern for all Arabs — King

By Mohammad Ghazal - Apr 01,2019 - Last updated at Apr 01,2019

His Majesty King Abdullah heads the Jordanian delegation to the 30th ordinary session of the Arab summit in Tunis on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

TUNIS — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday said the Palestinian cause has been and will always remain the foremost concern for all Arabs, reaffirming that addressing the Palestinian issue must be in line with Arab constants. 

"The Palestinian cause must remain Arabs’ core and primary cause," the King said, addressing the 30th Arab summit in Tunis (read full speech).

King Abdullah added that there can be no security, no stability, and no prosperity in the region without a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue that fulfils the aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish an independent Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the two-state solution, the Arab Peace Initiative, international law, and relevant UN resolutions.

Arab leaders at the summit, held in Tunis and attended by heads of several Arab states, stressed their commitment to the two-state solution, rejecting any attempts to prevent the Palestinians from attaining their rights to statehood and self-determination.

On the sidelines of the ordinary session for the pan-Arab bloc, His Majesty, who is heading the Jordanian delegation to the summit, met with several heads of Arab states and delegations.

As for the Holy City of Jerusalem and the violations against its Islamic and Christian holy sites aiming to alter the city’s history and identity, His Majesty said: "I reaffirm that Jordan, in accordance with our Hashemite Custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, will persist in undertaking its historical role to safeguard these holy sites."

“We meet today as many difficulties and challenges facing our peoples demand that we live up to their aspirations,” His Majesty, who returned to the Kingdom later in the day, added at the summit.

The King said Arab countries “have unfortunately been preoccupied by internal national challenges and therefore unable to focus on the shared concerns of our Arab Ummah [nation]”.

In his address at the summit, King Abdullah reiterated the importance of maintaining support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to enable it to continue providing its vital services to millions of Palestinian refugees in the region.

His Majesty called for moving from facing challenges separately into the actual implementation of joint Arab action. “It is time we regained our compass to lead our societies towards security and prosperity,” he told the gathering.

On Iraq, His Majesty stressed the importance of the positive developments, namely the success of the political process and the formation of the government. 

"We in Jordan look forward to working closely with our Iraqi brethren to translate our distinguished bilateral ties into opportunities and programmes on the ground, out of our duty to support our brothers in Iraq to capitalise on their victory against terrorism and continue to build their country so that Iraq may regain its important role in the Arab world," the King said during the summit, attended by Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

On Syria, King Abdullah said there is no alternative to a political solution that safeguards the territorial integrity of Syria and the unity of its people, and guarantees the safe and voluntary return of refugees to their homeland.

"Jordanians, on behalf of the international community and the region, have welcomed their Syrian brothers and sisters and shared their livelihood with them. We will continue to do so until they are safely back in their homeland. We also underscore that supporting countries hosting brotherly refugees and enabling them to continue to undertake this duty is a joint responsibility," His Majesty said.

On the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, King Abdullah said: "Our position remains that the Golan is occupied Syrian territory, according to international law and UN resolutions."

The King stressed the need for continued efforts to uproot terrorism.

"All our Arab societies have suffered and continue to suffer from the scourge of terrorism. The khawarij of our time, the outlaws of Islam, seek to destroy the social fabric of our communities and distort our true Arab and Islamic identity, as well as our heritage; rooted in mercy, tolerance and respect for the sanctity of human lives," His Majesty added.

Despite the defeat of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, the danger it poses has not ceased, and "we must counter this dark ideology by working within a holistic approach addressing the security, ideological, and development tracks", the King told the gathering.

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