Official website of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II
To the Opening Session of the 13th Ordinary Session of the League of Arab States
Amman, Jordan
27 March 2001

(Translated from Arabic)
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, Praise be to God, Lord of the universe,
Prayers and salutations be upon the faithful Arab Prophet Mohammed.
Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses,
Presidents, and Princes of Arab countries,

Peace, God's Mercy and Blessings be upon you.

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to Jordan, and to express, on behalf of the people of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, our pride in you, brothers and leaders who enjoy our full respect and appreciation. This is the third Arab Summit that Jordan hosts and we are proud to have this privilege once again.

It is also my pleasure to welcome Their Excellencies Mr. Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the United Nations, Mr. Abdelouhed Belkaziz, the secretary general of the Islamic Conference Organisation, and Mr Salim Ahmed Salim, the secretary general of the African Unity Organisation.

Jordan holds nothing dearer than its pride in belonging to the Arab Nation. It cherishes its commitment to serve Arab causes and to mobilise its resources towards building a future that befits the nation's history and contributions to humanity and world civilisation.

Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses,

Most previous Arab summits were held to reach unified positions on issues that had necessitated their convening. Consequently, they were of a reactive nature, governed by special circumstances. They were not proactive summits predicated on a comprehensive vision and initiative.

This summit, however, is held in implementation of the resolution of the Cairo Arab Summit to convene on an annual basis. I recognise the important role His Excellency President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak played in the success of that summit.

As such, this summit institutionalises a new approach to joint Arab action. This approach is based on a continuous process of coordination and consultation, regardless of passing differences and prevailing circumstances. It probably only meets the minimum aspirations and expectations of the Arab people who yearn for an efficient Arab order. The Arab people seek solidarity and a framework of co-operation that can build on common denominators and areas of agreement, resolve contentious issues and give priority to common Arab interests.

World developments present many challenges and have led to the emergence of economic blocs that seek to direct globalism to serve their interests. This requires us to work together. It makes it imperative that we become an integrated group capable of coping with these developments with confidence, awareness and greater ability.

Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses,

Our nation has for decades, particularly for the last ten years, suffered from differences and conflict. It has suffered from the absence of Arab solidarity and regression in joint Arab action. Accordingly, others both near and far have dealt with us with disregard. This situation allowed the weak and the strong alike to deal with us from a position of strength. Arab citizens have thus become bitter and frustrated, with no confidence in themselves or in their future.

It is time we turned that page and overcame our differences. It is time we opened a new page in joint Arab action with open hearts and clear consciences. This new chapter should reflect our brotherhood, sacred bonds and common interests. Our nation is facing enormous challenges. We have to rise to those challenges and meet the expectations and aspirations of our people.

The Palestinian people have been suffering tremendously for over half a century. They have struggled in defence of their rights and for their occupied land with all possible means. The blood of their martyrs has been spilt on every part of their dear land. Today, they are moving closer to realising their dream of liberating their land and regaining their legitimate rights. We must stand by them. We must provide them with all possible support and assistance that will enable them to regain their full rights and establish their independent state on their national soil, with Jerusalem as its capital.

We also must stand by our brethren in Syria in their quest to liberate all their occupied territories up to the borders that existed before June 4, 1967. We must stand by our brethren in Lebanon to complete the liberation of their occupied lands, so that we can achieve the just, lasting and comprehensive peace that the peoples of the region seek.

As for our brethren Iraq, their inconceivable suffering has gone on for far too long. It is time to end to this suffering, and to lift the embargo on Iraq. This Arab country has always been at the forefront in defending the Arab nation's causes and rights. It has never failed to respond to the calls of duty, sacrifice and brotherhood.

Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses,

Global challenges and changes are difficult, if not impossible, for any of our countries to face alone. We are more homogeneous and closer than any other regional economic grouping. We certainly can work together to realise the aspirations of our people for unity and solidarity.

Let this summit be the beginning of a new era in joint Arab action. Let it be a new launching ground towards solidarity and complementarity in all fields; political, economic or relating to national security. From this moment on, let our work be institutional and comprehensive in vision; let it not be reactive or emotionally driven.

In conclusion, I welcome you once again and wish you a happy stay in Jordan. I pray to Our Protector to direct us along the path that benefits our nation, and to grant us success in this summit and in all our meetings.

Peace, God's mercy and his blessings be upon you.