At the Kennedy Library

Speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II

At the Kennedy Library

USBoston, Massachusetts
14 October 1999

Senator Kennedy,

Mrs Kennedy,

Mr Manning,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me first to express my sincere gratitude for this beautiful evening, which Rania and I shall cherish for the rest of our lives.

Senator, I would like to add my voice to all those who have paid tribute, over the years, to the Kennedy family, for the contribution that they have made to the improvement of human life and for the painful sacrifices that have made us all realise the value of true citizenship.

I say that, Senator, because I also happen to belong to a family that has devoted itself since the turn of this century to the improvement of the life of the Arab people. Over the years, many sacrifices have been made to ensure that the freedom, liberty and integrity of the Arab mind is sacrosanct, that the rights of the Arabs are not forgotten or betrayed, and that their future is protected.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I conclude my second working visit to the United States, I am very proud of the special relations that bind Jordan with your country. The foundations of these ties, so carefully laid by my late father, have seen us making peace with our Israeli neighbours and subsequently guarding its sustainability and continuity. Through our partnership with America, we have built a unique model in our region. It is a model of peace that is cemented by respect for the principles of democracy, freedom of expression, political pluralism, free economic enterprise and human dignity. It is being continually reinforced through our positive interaction with our neighbours.

Most importantly, it is the necessary requirement for successfully facing the challenges ahead, which are numerous and quite complex. In my mind, the most daunting task that I have set myself to accomplish is to guarantee that our younger generation get an equal opportunity, like others elsewhere in the world: an opportunity to be active participants in the shaping of their own destiny, one that will hopefully focus on technological advances in science, on being a part of the information technology revolution, and on being able to enjoy the best of education, medical care and environmental standards.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

These are big challenges that necessitate, first and foremost, that we rid ourselves of the dark past of war, conflict and strife in our region, prior to getting ready to embark on a future course of promise, rewards, and accomplishments.

These challenges require more than ever that the partnership with the United States be solid, strong and sustainable. The role that the United States has played in the making of peace in our region must be complemented with continued efforts designed to rehabilitate our region if it is to effectively participate in the community of nations, not through conflict, but rather through a concrete realisation of a new, positive role.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All of you present here tonight can contribute to the making of a new region. We in Jordan will continue to provide the model, but we need your support and contribution.

I do not want to keep you any longer. Suffice it to say that I am very grateful to all of you for your interest, your support and your determination to help us attain a dream that befits the dawn of a new millennium.

Thank you again, and we hope to see you in the near future in our part of the world.