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Official website of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
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Speeches
Speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II
At the Hotel de Ville, City Hall
Paris, France
16 November 1999

Monsieur le Maire,

Madame Tiberi,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a privilege for both Rania and myself, and our accompanying delegation, to be accorded such an honour with this beautiful reception here at the Paris City Hall.

The city of Paris, in its beauty, its rich history, its culture and its diversity is a true reflection of the French Republic and the French nation. Both city and nation have a special place in the hearts of Jordanians. Over the years, and as you so eloquently alluded to, Monsieur le Maire, we in Jordan have strived to build solid bonds of cooperation between our two countries and our two capitals. The noble principles of freedom and equality, espoused by the French Revolution and equally so by the Great Arab Revolt, have provided a common platform for the excellent ties that bind our two countries.

These relations were strengthened during the reign of His Majesty King Hussein to become a model of mutual respect and co-ordination among states. I assure you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that I also hold the same high respect, great admiration and deep emotions that my father held for France and the French people.

Monsieur le Maire,

This afternoon, your city will bestow an honour on my late father, by giving the name of Hussein Premier de Jordanie to a prestigious Parisian avenue. The recognition by the City of Paris to His late Majesty symbolises the respect that France holds for the legacy of King Hussein: a legacy of the triumph of reason over extremism, of peace over conflict and strife, and of harmony over discord and rivalry. It is a legacy that characterises Jordan and its role within the community of states, earning our Kingdom as it does immense appreciation for maintaining order in a region where anarchy was prevalent, and for guaranteeing stability when upheaval was imminent.

Perhaps more important was the humanitarian dimension of international relations, so deeply held by the late King. With support unrivalled in the world for the Palestinian people in terms of providing refuge, opportunity and equality, Jordan has become a symbol and a model of unity for the Arabs. Our sense of responsibility for the religious sites in Jerusalem and for the future of the refugees continues to characterise our political agenda.

The human aspect in this regard cannot be separated from its political implication, a fact that led many to cast doubt on our intentions, when throughout the period we had hoped for nothing more than justice to be done for Palestine and the Palestinians. Today, as we witness the peace process go back on track, especially in the Palestinian-Israeli context, we are proud that our role and our model have served to bring the two sides to accept each other as partners in a process that will lead our region to stability, security and prosperity. The centrality of the Palestinian issue to the establishment of justice and permanent peace in our region has always been maintained by Jordan, and has shaped our efforts to support President Arafat and the Palestinian National Authority in their sincere efforts to make peace.

Monsieur le Maire,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

France shares with us the dream of creating a stable Middle East. The French initiatives in peacemaking and peace building in the region have been pioneering, due to the excellent relations maintained with all parties. We share with you the vision of a better future for all in the region, Lebanese, Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian and Syrian. All of our people deserve a better life with a guarantee of rights and security for them and their children.

The rapid developments in our world necessitate that action on the peace fronts be taken before it is too late. The course of peace is an irreversible one. Yet, the last few years have clearly shown that an impasse in the process might be worse than a full-fledged reversal. We cannot afford more waiting, for there are great expectations that have to be met by people who have known nothing but strife, in a region which has known nothing but prejudice and hatred. The dawn of a new era all over the world cannot ignore our part of the world. The cradle of civilisation must be given a proper chance for reconciliation and harmony. The peace that we desire is one that will be built on these human elements necessary to establish interaction among the ordinary men and women of the Middle East who seek nothing more than to lead a life of integrity in peace and security.

Monsieur le Maire,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we look forward towards a brighter future, we always have models in our minds that we would like to emulate. The unity of purpose achieved in the example provided by the European Union is one such model. However, it could only be established because of the peace so carefully constructed after the Second World War. We realise that only through such an investment in peace can we, as an important region in the world, develop our own model of political and economic cooperation and integration. The prerequisite condition of peace and stability still eludes us at the turn of the century, and it is the responsibility of true leaders and men of vision to guarantee that the next era will be void of hostility and war and will instead be conducive to the pursuit of excellence in economics, culture and technology.

We are confident that our future will remain intrinsically linked to that of our European partners, a major factor in our drive to attain association with Europe through the Barcelona process. The historical links between the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean have created a platform for this partnership. Social, cultural and economic paradigms however must ensure its strength and continuity.

Monsieur le Maire,

I am delighted at the signature of a new friendship agreement between Amman and Paris; a renewal of an agreement signed in 1987. There is no better way of articulating the common cultural heritage between civilisations than through cooperation between cities, It is only befitting that this state visit, which marks the strengthening of a very special relationship between our two countries, witness such understanding and good will for future joint cooperation between us.

The cultural dimension of our relations are yet another example of our common view of how we see the world and see the future, one that will hold a promise of joy in the serenity of peaceful coexistence and cooperation among all mankind. This is our message and this is our quest. It is one that I am so proud to express in your presence today in these auspicious surroundings where modernity, culture and civilisation merge into a universality of values of peace, harmony and excellence.

I thank you.