Opening of the Annual IISS Manama Dialogue (14th Regional Security Summit)

Speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II

Opening of the Annual IISS Manama Dialogue (14th Regional Security Summit)

26 October 2018
(Translated from Arabic)
(Delivered by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi)

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

Your Royal Highness,
Dr Chipman,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished friends,

It is a great pleasure to take part in the Manama Dialogue again. For their long support of these Summits, let me express my appreciation, to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Dr Chipman, General Beckett, my thanks also to you, and the entire IISS team.

As I prepared to be with all of you this evening, I thought about the vital role of the Manama Dialogue, which has given this region a unique, summit-level setting to tackle important security issues, share ideas and expertise, and identify solutions. But even more important, is your power to take this regional dialogue forward and outward to raise global understanding about our region and its central role.

Today, there is a constant flow of news about regional issues. One moment, a crisis is at the top of our screens; the next minute, global headlines have turned to a different crisis. But as every expert in this room knows, events and their impact do not end because the news cycle has moved on. The refugee crisis continues. The rights of Palestinians continue; their status as refugees continues. The challenges of unemployment and lack of opportunity continue. Environmental dangers continue to threaten health and development. And terror and Islamophobia are still threats to our collective future.

These serious challenges are long-term, complex, and inter-related. They are global in scope, and they have deep roots. It goes without saying that successful solutions must be just as holistic, just as global, and just as deep. To achieve security, the international community must also address justice, and inclusion, and opportunity. To create opportunity and economic growth, the world must also ensure stability and confidence. And to provide truly global justice and inclusion, we, as a world, must always stand up for the values on which human coexistence depends.

Mutual respect, collective action, and long-term commitment are central to the security issues you are discussing here at this Dialogue. In our region, we’ve seen significant military victories over the khawarej, the outlaws of Islam. But there is still vital work to do, to consolidate the gains and help crisis-torn communities rebuild. And let’s not forget that as these challenges and threats are addressed, the operational threat remains global. If the international community ignores today’s hotspots, they will only spread.

As I've said before, this is a generational fight. The ideological aspect is key. The khawarej rely on a pseudo-religious ideology to justify murderous acts and foment sectarianism. We need to do more than expose their lies and crimes; we need to counter their false narrative with a true one that offers human solidarity and hope. Jordan has led a global effort to articulate the real social values of Islam—tolerance, compassion, mercy, and respect for the dignity of all men and women. We seek an international, interfaith dialogue against bigotry and against hate. From the local community to cyberspace, the voices of coexistence must be heard.

And the principles of coexistence must also guide our collective action. The countries of the world have a security interest, as well as a moral duty, to ensure that all people, especially young people, share in the promise of this century. Global support is especially important for refugee host countries, like mine, that have borne the brunt of multiple regional refugee crises. Our international partnership needs to stay strong until this crisis is truly over. Only one part of the job is to help prepare refugees to return to their homes and rebuild peaceful, prosperous communities. The other, equally important job is to help the host communities that have sacrificed so much to do the right thing, and support the sustainable, inclusive development that is essential for regional and global stability and growth.

My friends,

Another critical security concern for the region and the world is the long denial of Palestinian statehood. This conflict has been a global disrupter of peace and stability. When occupation and violence continue for generations and the peace process hits a dead-end again and again, this is not just the failure of the parties. It is a failure of global strategic relationships and credibility.

Eight years ago, here at the Manama Dialogue, I argued that our region will not enjoy security and stability unless we solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This has sadly proved true. And we cannot expect better until our world does much, much, more to guide the parties towards a just and durable two-state solution, one that meets the needs of both sides, is fully in accord with international law and resolutions, provides an end to the conflict, and creates, my friends, a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state, on the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

There have been many attempts to delay and subvert the hope the two-state solution offers. Today, these negative efforts include the fallacy of a single, bi-national state. Any such solution, based on unilateral acts and unequal rights, would be a moral disaster and a recipe for continued conflict. Lasting peace cannot be unilateral; it can only be built by respecting the rights, hopes, and needs of both sides. This is the real security of peace.

And let’s also remember this: in order for people to live in peace, they must be empowered to prepare for the day of peace. For that, Palestinian schools need to be open, and families and communities need our protection. My friends, UNRWA must be fully funded.

In the days ahead, global collective action will be more important than ever. Above all, we need to safeguard Jerusalem’s holy sites and historic Arab, Muslim and Christian identity. Anything that puts the holy city in jeopardy would be a deep religious offence to billions of people around the world.  To me personally and to all Jordanians, the Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites is a binding duty. Join us in protecting the holy city as a unifying city of peace.

My friends,

When the world’s people, especially young people, can see a future of hope, the whole global community benefits. And when our central, strategic region is strong and successful, the whole global community shares in the benefits of our stability, security, and growth.

In the days ahead, I hope you will take that message to the world. We need all of you in the lead to help the international community work together, talk together, and keep to its principles. I wish you every success.

Thank you.