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Speeches
Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II
Before the 66th Plenary Session of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, US
21 September 2011

In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished Heads of Delegation,
Members of the General Assembly:

It is an honor to return once again to this historic setting.  May I warmly congratulate His Excellency Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. Your Excellency, Jordanians well remember your distinguished tenure as Qatar's Ambassador to Jordan. Accept our best wishes on your election as General Assembly President. Mr. Secretary General, may I also express warm congratulations on your election for a second term.

My Friends,
This year, in my region and everywhere in the world, leaders are being asked to listen - and to act.

To solve today's serious global crises: in the economy; the environment; and peace.

To uphold the equal dignity of all persons - and as provided in the U.N. Charter, the equal rights of our nations.

To create more inclusive political and economic life - especially including young people.

And to prove that global justice, by peaceful process of law, is more than words: it is achievable ... and achievable now.

The challenge has come to my region, and historic transformations are underway. This year, we have witnessed vast changes, both orderly transitions, and tumultuous events with a high price in bloodshed and loss.

But those of us who have welcomed and championed reform are hopeful. We believe that the Arab Spring can be an opportunity to institutionalize positive change, change that is necessary for a strong, secure, prosperous future. We can build on the pioneering achievements of Arab-Islamic civilization - with its core values of compassion, responsibility, tolerance and respect for others.

For my country, these opportunities are opening the door to a major revitalization of our reform effort. We want it to be an inclusive, national effort that can reach our goal of parliamentary government. The irreversible democratic change we seek, means more than establishing new structures. It means embedding a way of life - the active responsibility of participating in political parties; creating political, economic, and social platforms; and working with others to achieve the future our people need. It also means building reform right into reform, including the rule of law, justice, and the rights and freedoms of democratic political life.

Early on, Jordan began a review of the cornerstone of our political life, the Constitution. Parliament is currently putting the final touches on amendments for ratification by both Chambers. Among key provisions are an independent Constitutional Court and an independent Elections Commission.

My Friends,
Jordan is also working with our partners to address another global danger: the immense negative impact of regional conflict. And the central crisis, the single greatest driver of division and instability, is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

We are today at a dangerous impasse. The opportunities of a year ago - to move talks forward toward a clear-cut end game - failed to gain momentum. Negotiations have come to a halt.  Frustrations are at a peak. Even as we speak, Israeli settlement activity is ongoing - despite every ruling of international law, and in the face of strong international protest. We are seeing settlement activity in Jerusalem, although this is one of the key Final Status issues, that can only be resolved through negotiations. This is a global concern. In my great-grandfather's words, "a sacred chain" binds Muslims around the world to this Holy City. I cannot overstate the crisis that would arise from harm to the Holy Sites of any faith ... or from efforts to annihilate the Arab character of East Jerusalem.

A two-state solution, that ends the conflict by meeting the needs of both sides, is and can be the only secure and lasting peace.  Two states, with a sovereign, independent, and viable Palestine, and security and acceptance for Israel. This is the core of all major international proposals, including the Arab Peace Initiative. All are agreed that negotiations must go forward, and soon, resolving the final status of all four key issues - borders; Jerusalem; refugees; and settlements. Only then will the conflict cease to be a flashpoint for global violence - and people on both sides can get on with a future in peace.

President Obama recognized this strategic imperative when he set the parameters for a solution last May 19th. The Arabs viewed these parameters positively.

Israel builds settlements.

The Quartet, the European Union, and other representatives of the international community have put workable ideas on the table.  The Arab states welcome them.

Israel builds settlements.

That’s where we find ourselves today.

My Friends,
We cannot teach the next generation respect for law and mutual acceptance if they see law and compromise repeatedly fail.  Yet we must uphold the law, or civilization falls.

We cannot teach the value of peaceful process if peaceful process repeatedly fails. Yet we must uphold peaceful process, or humanity is lost.

In this impasse, Jordan and the Arab States are holding fast to our principles of peace and law. We have come here, to the House of Nations, to seek the justice of nations.

We will continue to strongly support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to statehood in fulfillment of their aspirations and in accordance with U.N. resolutions, and within a comprehensive and just settlement and the resolution of all final status issues. It is their right to seek it here, in the house of nations, The united nations. This we must all support.

We seek a new and vigorous international push, with concrete steps toward the end-game. Not words, not process. But a decisive end to conflict, and a new beginning in peace. The peace that comes from real statehood and recognized-rights for Palestinians ... allowing people to look forward in dignity and hope. A peace that brings real security for Israelis ... putting aside their fortress mentality, and achieving acceptance in their neighborhood and the world.

Friends,
Men and women everywhere share basic concerns:  a better life for themselves and their families ... security to plan for the future ... a say in how society is organized ... rights they can depend on. For too many, these hopes have been unanswered. But a new era is beginning in my region, with new opportunities to move forward in democracy, security, and peace.

Thank you very much.