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Speeches
Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II
At the 13th Summit of Non-Aligned Countries
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
24 February 2003

(Delivered by His Royal Highness Prince Faisal Bin Al Hussein)
Peace be upon you,

It is an honour for me to deliver this message to Your Excellencies on behalf of His Majesty King Abdullah II.

Your Excellency, Distinguished Delegates,

It is a privilege to have this opportunity to address you today. May I congratulate you, Dr. Mahathir, on assuming the chairmanship of our Non-Aligned Movement. Mr. Chairman, I am confident that with your guidance and help, the movement will achieve great successes. I, and my entire delegation, thank you – and the people of Malaysia – for your generous hospitality at this summit and the warm reception we have received in this beautiful city, Kuala Lumpur.

Let me also express my appreciation to NAM's outgoing chairman, His Excellency Thabo Mbeki. President Mbeki has given his talent to this movement during four critical years and I know that he will continue to be a source of strength and wisdom. Your Excellency, we thank you.

Mr. Chairman, this is our first summit in the 21st century. It can be a century of great promise – for real development, for freedom and security, for justice and peace. Yet as we meet here, too many of our people experience a different reality – a reality of suffering, extreme poverty, and violence. How do we lift these burdens? How do we take charge of our destiny, to create a better, wiser future?

I believe the answer lies in the deepest principles of this movement: respect for the equal dignity of nations cooperation and solidarity in the cause of development and the creation of a new, global agenda, an agenda that upholds the rights and serves the interests of our people.

These are the principles that helped our nations rise out of the old colonial world and rise above the bi-polar division of the Cold War. Today, they are the principles that will carry us into the future ensuring our role as dynamic players on the global scene.

Nowhere is this more critical than in the Middle East, where two crises threaten the peace of nations.

Today, the Palestinian-Israel conflict continues unabated. This vicious cycle of occupation, oppression and violence perpetuates destruction and injustice. Now more than ever, the people of both sides need peace.

Jordan has worked hard to bring about a “Road Map” that can make real peace a reality. An important part of the blueprint is the landmark Arab Peace Initiative, articulated in Beirut last year. It presents a vision for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace – two states, side by side, in historic Palestine; an end to Israeli occupation; withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied in June 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights and the remaining Lebanese territory; and collective Arab guarantees of security. Those guarantees reflect a critical reality: The route to coexistence depends on secure borders for Arabs, Palestinians and Israelis alike.

But let us be clear. Time is of the essence. Palestinians are now living in desperate conditions of suffering and hardship. The evils of life in occupation; extensive poverty; soaring unemployment – these and other deprivations are undermining the basic rights of life.

In this crisis, Jordanians have once again reached out with full hearts. Our country serves as the Palestinians' only conduit for humanitarian supplies, food, blood for transfusions, even medical assistance. But all the humanitarian assistance in the world cannot substitute for the conditions of freedom and peace that are the basis of life and hope.

In fact, both sides are tired of conflict. Neither people want to live like this any more. Israel is now experiencing negative economic growth, for the first time in years. All are suffering. Enough is enough. We need to move forward now on the road to peace.

Mr. Chairman, the situation in Iraq is another great challenge. Iraq is an important member of the movement as well as the League of Arab States. The crisis unfolding there has dire consequences for the world.

Peace, not war, is what is needed in the Middle East. Talk of war only diverts us from concentrating our efforts on the important fight against international terror. That fight is a continuous process, and one that needs the full attention and cooperation of our nations.

Today, Jordanians, like so many others in the world, are experiencing “war fatigue.” World opinion is against war. The international community seeks peaceful means to resolve conflict. And those means exist, manifested in Security Council resolutions and the will of the international community.

In the Iraq crisis, the Security Council must continue to have primary responsibility. We hope all parties will continue to respect this fact, and the UN will see its resolutions faithfully implemented.

Mr. Chairman, peace is the immediate crisis. But we must not ignore the deeper, ongoing challenges – underdevelopment, debt, terrorism, regional conflicts, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. If we are going to address these seriously, we must act boldly, and we must act together.

Our first priority must be to alleviate the underlying causes of suffering and violence. This demands an end to poverty and all its evils. One important step is the international commitment to slash poverty in the least developed nations by half, by the year 2015. But this commitment is just a beginning. Now, the international community must achieve this goal. In this effort, NAM has a central role as advocate for the billions of poor and dispossessed.

Action is also critical in solving the crushing problem of debt. For too many developing nations, debt burdens are suffocating economic growth and preventing sustainable development. Indeed, in many of our nations, debt servicing has surpassed sustainability levels.

It is time for a comprehensive solution – one that sets debtor nations on the path to sustainable growth and prosperity. This means designing debt relief measures that enable developing countries to raise the resources necessary to attain development goals.

In this and other areas, non-aligned countries must seek and obtain a greater say in international decision-making. The simple fact is that the challenges of this century cannot be met without the active participation and leadership of our nations. In the 21st century, our problems will not be solved by power politics or ideological antagonism. They will be solved only through concrete actions that resolve our divisions – and bring real advances in equality and opportunity.

To achieve more, NAM must make improvements in the way it manages its business. A first step is to commit ourselves, today, to the recommendations submitted by our Foreign Ministers. Let me take this opportunity to salute the efforts of President Mbeki and previous NAM chairmen. Their commitment to revitalise and strengthen the movement is embodied in these ideas. Let us put our voices and votes behind them.

As we look ahead, we must also ask ourselves hard questions about how we, as a movement, can achieve more. That means reviewing our priorities, and focusing sharply on new and emerging issues. Issues such as human rights, terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, trafficking in weapons and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – these issues are high on the international agenda. NAM should be a strong voice for our nations' concerns.

One area of special interest is peacekeeping. Today, the majority of the forces deployed in world hot spots come from NAM countries. The risks and sacrifices of that presence make a very tangible contribution to the common good. And that, I believe, entitles our nations to a larger role in the international security system. The current cooperation between the leading powers in the North and NAM in this context must be developed further. Our nations should be playing an active role, from the earliest stages of preventive diplomacy to the resolution of conflicts.

Mr. Chairman, our movement represents solidarity of effort and cooperation at a time when a global partnership for peace is more important than ever before. Our nations represent important models for development and growth at a time when the world cries out for new solutions.

So let us work together, and act boldly, for a better world. And let us look with optimism toward the century ahead.

Thank you.