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‘We must seek shared solutions to our shared problems’ — King

By JT - Mar 29,2017 - Last updated at Mar 30,2017

His Majesty King Abdullah delivers a speech at the Arab summit meeting at the Dead Sea on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

Following is the official translation of His Majesty King Abdullah’s address at the opening of the 28th ordinary session of the Council of League of Arab States at the Summit Level at the Dead Sea on Wednesday: 

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

Prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad,

Your Majesties, Highnesses, Excellencies,

Your Excellency, Secretary General of the Arab League,

Peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you.

Welcome to your second home, Jordan, one of the six founding members of the League of Arab States. Joint Arab action, based on solidarity, cooperation, and belief in a common destiny, has always been at the forefront of Jordan’s priorities.

Allow me, on behalf of all of us, to thank my brother His Excellency Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz for his sincere efforts as president of the previous Arab Summit. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Arab League and its staff for the work they have put into holding this summit.

I would also like to welcome His Excellency António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations.

Your Majesties, Highnesses, Excellencies,

We stand today before grave challenges to the fate of our countries, peoples, and our nation.

First is the threat of terrorism and extremism, which has set out to tarnish the image of our religion and hijack the future of young Arabs. It is therefore our duty to protect them from distortions to their religious and ideological beliefs, since terrorism poses a greater threat to Arabs and Muslims, who make up the majority of its victims. We must work together and with the world to counter this danger through a holistic approach.

Second is Israel’s continued settlement expansion and its work to undermine chances for peace. There can be no peace nor stability in the region without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause, the core issue of the Middle East, based on the two-state solution.

Jordan is closest to the Palestinian cause. Our martyrs have fallen while defending Palestinian land, and we are aware of the daily struggle of the Palestinian people, Jerusalemites in particular. The Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is a historical responsibility Jordan is honoured to undertake on behalf of the Arab and Muslim nations.

We will continue to fight against any attempts to change the status quo and to stand up against attempts for temporal and spatial division of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, with your support and assistance. We must all work as one to safeguard Jerusalem and prevent attempts to create new facts on the ground that would have catastrophic consequences on the region’s future and stability.

Third, we hope that the recent talks in Geneva and Astana will bring about a breakthrough in the Syrian crisis, as it enters its seventh year, to launch an inclusive political process that involves all components of the Syrian people, maintains the territorial integrity of Syria, and guarantees the safety of its citizens and the return of refugees. In addition to Palestinian refugees, Jordan is hosting 1.3 million of our Syrian brothers and sisters, which makes the Kingdom the largest refugee host in the world. It is a burden we carry on behalf of our nation and the entire international community.

Fourth, we reaffirm our support to the Iraqi government in its fight against terrorism, paving the way for an inclusive, comprehensive political process that safeguards the rights of all and establishes a united and stable Iraq.

Fifth, we express our support for efforts to restore stability and security in Yemen and Libya in order to build a bright future for their peoples. To that end, we must take the initiative and put forward ground-breaking solutions to pervasive challenges, in order to prevent foreign interference in our affairs.

The first step is to agree on our key goals and interests, instead of continuing to hold annual meetings where we reiterate slogans that, we know, will not be translated into actual policies.

We must seek shared solutions to our shared problems. Let this summit launch a new phase of joint Arab action.

Allow me to conclude by wishing you a pleasant stay in your second home, and I ask God to grant us success and to guide us to achieve the best interests of our Arab and Muslim nations.

Peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you.

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