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Arab Spring different in each country - King
New York, 26 September 2012

The Arab Spring means something different to every country, with each going through change at a pace that meets the aspirations and hopes of its people, His Majesty King Abdullah has said.

Speaking to the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart in New York on Tuesday, King Abdullah  said that “whatever the Middle East is going through” at the current stage, it will take between five and 10 years to show the results of each country’s “unique experiment”.

 “I hope… we all look back five, 10, 15 years from now and say that the Arab Spring was a good thing, and I believe it is,” the King  said. But the “pace and meaning” of change will be different for each country.

The Arab Spring was initially triggered by the difficult economic conditions that Arabs were going through, His Majesty commented, and then it turned into a cry for political and other change, with young men and women calling for political reform,  “and rightly so.”

His Majesty reiterated that Jordan will have a new Parliament by the beginning of next year as a step after the constitutional amendments, the establishment of the Independent Elections Commission and the endorsement of the Elections Law, anticipating that the Constitutional Court will be formed soon.

When asked about regional issues and Iran, the King said Tehran’s nuclear programme is an issue of concern for the international community, but the ultimate way to defuse and deal once and for all with this stand-off is by solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

By resolving the conflict in a just and comprehensive manner, many problems will be solved, and there would be no justification for a nuclear arms race, the King explained.

His Majesty strongly condemned the “Innocence of Muslims” video denigrating Prophet Mohammad, but at the same time also strongly condemned those who used it as a pretext to create chaos and kill innocent people. “ I am terribly insulted by the video and refused to watch it… but at the same time, I am completely against that type of reaction. You do not take innocent lives into your own hands.”

Addressing the Kingdom’s reform process, His Majesty said the current challenge is to conduct elections that lead to a Parliament representing the people.

Then, the Jordanian Summer will begin and much more work will be needed with the start of the parliamentary government experience, the King added.

His Majesty voiced hope that Jordan will reach a stage at which left, right and centre parties will emerge, with a clear vision on issues that matter to the people such as health insurance, taxes, job opportunities and sustainable development projects.

His Majesty said the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, unlike in many other Arab countries where they were outlawed, have always been working legally within the Kingdom as a political party that is part of the mosaic of Jordanian society.

The King stressed that if any party or group wishes to contribute actively to the Kingdom’s political life, including changing key political laws, the only way to that will be through the next Parliament, urging every group to be part of this important step in building Jordan’s future.