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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Returns Home After taking Part in Munich Conference
Amman, 8 February 2004

His Majesty king Abdullah II returned to Amman following a brief visit to Germany where he delivered a keynote address at the 40th Munich Conference on Security Policy.

During the session which was dedicated to discussing the future of the Middle East, His Majesty affirmed, before more than 200 political and military figures, including the defense ministers of the US, Russia, Germany and France, in addition to the secretary general of NATO, the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana and the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, that the Arab-Israeli Conflict remains central to the region and the world.

"Time has come to put a stop to the long and hateful cycle of violence," the King added. "A Palestinian capital in Eastern Jerusalem would be matched by an Israeli capital in Western Jerusalem. This is the unavoidable road to peace".

During the conference, which was also attended by the King's Advisor for Security Affairs, Director of the Intelligence Department and rapporteur of the State Security Council, General Saad Kheir, Minister of the Hashemite Royal Court, Sameer Rifai and Jordan's ambassador to Germany, Dr. Saleh Irsheidat, the King said that "For us in Jordan, the crisis in Palestine is very near. Every day, our people know the suffering that is going on. And we experience the destructive regional impact of the conflict".

His Majesty said that Jordan has been a leader in the search for peace, indicating that, we have taken the risk that peace requires for decades.

The king called for establishing a collective international alliance for peace that can secure the future of Palestine and Israel, bolster peace and stability in the Middle East, and promote the security interests of free nations worldwide.

On the Iraqi issue, His Majesty said that it is urgent that the friends of freedom win the peace. "That means more than replacing the old failed structure", he said, stressing the need to have sustainable security, in which Iraqis are able to resolve their own problems peacefully.

"It is not a question of how fast an election is held, but how well the governing institutions are built. It is the substance, not the pace of change that will ultimately define success," he added.

King Abdullah said that the Islamic faith that is central to Jordan's identity, respects diversity and tolerance and rejects extremism and terrorism.

He noted that development is the second challenge that faces Arabs after the Palestinian cause. "Reports show that per capita income has shrunk in the Arab countries during the last 20 years," he said, noting that one of every five Arabs live on less than $2 a day, and in the labor force, one in seven is unemployed.

His Majesty said that Arab youth, who form more than sixty percent of the population, can be especially vulnerable. "when young people lose hope, they can turn to apathy or violence" he added.

The King called on the international community to support development in the Arab world to help in achieving justice and hope which are necessary for security in the region and the world.

Full Speech