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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

His Majesty King Abdullah Gives Statement to Petra on the Occasion of His Birthday
Amman, 29 January 2002

His Majesty King Abdullah II has affirmed that he is fully confident in the one Jordanian family, its giving, belonging, unity to face all challenges and determination to achieve accomplishments.

The King also underlined the need to work as a one team, for there is no difference between the King and the citizen, noting that he has dedicated himself for the service of his people and nation.

In a statement to Jordan News Agency /Petra/ on the occasion of his birthday, His Majesty expressed hope that his people will be optimistic of the future despite the hardships. "We all know exactly what is needed to achieve a genuine breakthrough and sustainable development that is felt by all," he said.

His Majesty said that Jordan, with its limited potentials and scarce resources has become through the determination of Jordanians an ideal homeland that provides equal opportunities and achieve justice and equality for all Jordanians who have not hesitated to perform their duties and shoulder their responsibilities despite all challenges and hardships.

"My faith in my Jordanian people is limitless and ever since I shouldered the responsibility, I was aware that the task is not easy but not impossible thanks to our cohesion especially on part of the youth who form 70 percent of our society," he said, adding that we will all work together to make Jordan a model for the region and the world God willing.

King Abdullah said that the position that Jordan enjoys on the world level is a source of pride for all Jordanians. " Our relations with Arab and friendly countries are positive and we must use them to achieve progress and economic development that we aspire for especially that we have signed many agreements that will contribute to the development and growth of our economy," the King told Petra.

He pointed out that he is aware that some people did not feel the impact the accomplishment that the Kingdom has achieved. " I would like to say that we are moving steadily to a more brighter future and I have affirmed to the government the importance of speeding up the implementation of major projects relating to the improvement of citizens' standards of living in all governorates," His Majesty added.

" Our priorities for the current stage are to achieve economic and social integration and we will do our best to develop the economy, improve standards of livings of citizens and fight poverty and unemployment," he added, noting that indications of the economic growth last year were positive despite the world recession. "This provides us with an incentive to move forward and achieve economic growth, the results of which will be felt by citizens God willing," His Majesty added.

In reply to a question whether the upcoming parliamentary elections will lead to new economic and political reforms the King said: I have previously declared that the year 2002 will be the year of elections which necessitates the participation of all citizens especially the youths in these elections which will be fair and transparent so to reflect Jordan's bright and democratic image.

His Majesty said that the development of political life forms one of our basic national priorities, noting that the upcoming elections will be the title of sustainable development, a way of enhancing democracy and another step in building the civil society, the pillars of which need the activation of the role of political parties and institutions in the Kingdom.

King Abdullah stressed the importance of the media in spreading awareness among citizens, encouraging them to take part in the elections, and urging them to practice their role in enhancing our democratic march through electing whom they think they are the best to represent them in Parliament.

Concerning the position of Jordan and the region in the world after the events of Sept. 11 in the United States, His Majesty said that the world has change a lot after Sept. 11 of last year politically, economically and culturally. " From the beginning, the King said, we were quick to condemn the terrorist attacks against the United States, for we reject the killing of civilians under any pretexts and we believe that terrorism is one despite the colour, race or religion of their perpetrators as well as the victims,".

He pointed out that we were aware from the beginning that there were attempts to link terrorism with Arabs and Muslims. These attempt have partially succeeded and I, as an Arab, Hashemite and Muslim leader tried during my meetings and talks with leaders and officials in the West to present the right image of Islam and thanks God we were able to change the negative image that was formed about Islam.

It was my duty to ensure that these terrorist acts will not reflect negatively on the Palestinian cause but unfortunately this had happened and Israel used the circumstances in which the US and international community were busy in fighting terrorism, to liquidate the peace process and strike against the Palestinian National Authority.

Our Arab nation has benefited a lot from this lesson and I see in the horizon many encouraging signs that I hope will reflect on the upcoming Arab summit in Beirut. " In the first summit, there were many achievments and these could be a base for a new kind of Arab order and we all have to enhance this order with a view to confront challenges that face us and work toward building a brighter Arab future for the coming generations," King Abdullah said.

His Majesty the King said that talk about the so-called Jordanian option especially at this stage when the Palestinian cause is facing a dangerous situation, aims at harming Jordan as well as Palestine, it people and leadership. He expressed belief that this idea is raised only by parties that are intent to harm both Jordan and Palestine.

"Our position on the Palestinian cause is clear and strategic. We support the establishment of a Palestinian state on the Palestinian national soil with its legitimate Palestinian leadership represented by the elected Palestinian National Authority and its chairman Yasser Arafat.

In reply to a question on his visit to the US and the issues that he will discuss during his talks with US President George Bush and senior US officials, His Majesty said that we are facing one of the most difficult stages that our region has passed through. " One of the most difficult issues that are facing us is the complicated situation that the Palestinian cause has reached and this will be the most important issue that will be discussed," he added, noting that there are other issues relating to the region that must be tackled in addition to a number of bilateral issues especially in the economic field.