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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Interviewed by Kuwaiti Paper
Amman, 20 December 2003

His Majesty King Abdullah II affirmed that we have a lot ahead to develop Jordan politically, economically, and socially, and we look forward to stamping out poverty and unemployment and create job opportunities.

"Jordan First" slogan has motivated all Jordanians to take part in decision-making, and it is being embodied through work, loyalty and achievement, and the slogan means equal opportunities and justice, King Abdullah said in an interview with the Kuwaiti Daily "Asseyasah" published on Saturday.

The King stressed that we have an absolute confidence in our regional and international stand, and we are satisfied with our role towards our brethren in Palestine and Iraq as well as towards all Arab and.

Islamic issues. At the time, we are concerned with the future of our people, because when Jordan is internally strong with stronger social and economic situation, then our support for our brethren will be stronger, too.

''We all share the responsibility to enable the Iraqis build their country, help speed up the transformation of authority to Iraqis, establish a national Iraqi government, that represents all segments of the Iraqi people and able to meet hopes and aspirations of the Iraq people," the King said.

In reply to a question on whether terrorism is being curbed or it is increasing, King Abdullah said the more we see terrorists attacking haphazardly and unconsciously, certainly means they are more fumbling about. What we have seen in Saudi Arabia is really very painful and stunning for all of us simply because the terrorists are from our folk and the targets are Arabs and Moslems. Security and stability in Saudi Arabia is part of our security and affects us.

Why is this Islamic country, which saves no effort in serving issues of Islam and Moslems, is being targeted by terrorists? King Abdullah questioned.

On Jordan's relations with the Arab Gulf states, King Abdullah said our relations are very distinctive and can be ideal. We share the same interests and the same concerns. Most of my talks in the Gulf focus on economic cooperation because in my view this is what our peoples are concerned with. If we want to build a future for the Middle East and promote trade and economic coordination, we have to cooperate in economic spheres, and that is why I have started to encourage the private sector to assume its role, the King added. The private sector would have a stronger influence than the government on the future of the Arab states, he said.

In reply to economic situation in Jordan, King Abdullah said securing oil supplies is still an itchy problem for Jordan and it has its effect on the budget and economic and social development plans. The King thanked Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates for providing Jordan with oil during the war on Iraq. If those countries continue their support to us our national economy will be relieved, the King added.