Media & Communication Directorate
Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)
King holds talks with Pope Francis
Vatican, 29 August 2013
His Majesty King Abdullah and Pope Francis met in the Vatican on Thursday and agreed that dialogue is the only means to end the Syrian conflict.
King Abdullah, accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Rania, also discussed enhancing Muslim-Christian relations and regional developments.
His Majesty reiterated Jordan’s position in support of a comprehensive political solution that ends the bloodshed and protects the unity and cohesion of Syria and its people.
The King and the pontiff reaffirmed that the path of dialogue and negotiations among all components of Syrian society, with the backing of the international community, is the only option to end the conflict and the violence.
Speaking privately in the Vatican’s apostolic palace, His Majesty briefed Pope Francis on Jordan’s keenness to strengthen ties with the Vatican to enhance the values of tolerance and harmony among nations and achieve peace and stability in the Middle East.
The King told the Pope that upholding tolerance and coexistence among Muslims and Christians is an ongoing endeavour in Jordan, and that the Kingdom is constantly striving to boost dialogue and communication between followers of the two faiths.
His Majesty noted that moderation, tolerance and coexistence are among the major pillars of the 2004 Amman Message that seeks to explain the true essence of Islam.
The King highlighted the outcomes of the recently held 16th General Conference of Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Amman, which called for interfaith dialogue and warned against the serious threats of sectarianism and ethnic divisions to the future of the Middle East.
His Majesty told the pontiff that Jordan will host a conference next week on the challenges facing Arab Christians and ways to address them so as to safeguard their pivotal role in the region, especially in Jerusalem, and their contributions to Arab Islamic civilisation.
The King also discussed Mideast peace efforts, reiterating that Jordan will exert all possible efforts with the international community to support the recently restarted peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.
His Majesty told the Pope that Jordan seeks to remove all obstacles to a just and comprehensive peace that arrives at a viable and independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The King also noted that Jordan, according to a March agreement signed with the Palestinian leadership reaffirming the status of His Majesty as the custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, is exerting tremendous efforts to protect the Islamic and Christian sites in the holy city and preserve the city’s Arab identity.
His Majesty also stressed the vital role of the Vatican in safeguarding Jerusalem’s identity from Israeli attempts to Judaise holy sites, expressing appreciation for the efforts of Christian leaders to serve the Palestinian cause and support Arab Christians there.
For his part, Pope Francis expressed appreciation for Jordan’s efforts in achieving peace and stability in the Middle East and enhancing values of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence among followers of all faiths, noting that the Pope also congratulated the King on his ongoing democratic reform programme in the Kingdom.
The meeting was attended by Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, Foreign and Expatriate Affairs Minister Nasser Judeh and His Majesty’s Office Director Imad Fakhoury.
The King also met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, and discussed with him cooperation between Jordan and the Vatican as well as issues of common interest.