solution according to the international
legitimacy and Arab peace initiative.
“Europe has a unique
experience with the mechanisms and process of post-conflict
recovery and reconciliation. This includes creating a security
framework that can offer assurance to both sides. European
peacekeeping forces have played a constructive role in Lebanon.
Your commitment can help bring great trust to a Palestinian-Israeli
settlement,” said King Abdullah.
Following is the
full text of His Majesty’s Speech:
Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim,
Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for your warm
welcome. On behalf of the people of Jordan, I am honored to
come before this distinguished institution again.
A changing Europe and a changing Middle East are here today.
A Europe of expanding membership
and a visionary mission: for cooperation across borders and
growth without barriers.
A Middle East of new horizons
and growing hope: for peace among neighbors, opportunities
for its people and a future for our youth.
These trends do not take
place in isolation. The hopes our regions achieve will advance
stability and create new possibilities for security and prosperity
worldwide. It is deeply in our interest to succeed. And a
critical opportunity is before us.
Two weeks ago, with the
support of the European Union and nations from both our regions,
Israelis and Palestinians met at Annapolis. They pledged all-out
negotiations toward a peace treaty in 2008 and immediate steps
to implement their obligations under the Road Map. For the
first time in years, we see movement toward a permanent settlement
and an independent, sovereign, viable Palestinian state.
This progress is the work
of many friends of peace, including leaders in Europe and
the Arab states. We believed that, after years of worsening
crisis, a change of strategy was required. We urged a new
commitment to the two-state goal and a targeted process that
could achieve it – with tight timelines, measurable
requirements and milestones for action.
Second chances are rare,
but I believe we have come to one. Very real challenges lie
ahead, but Annapolis has created a new spark of hope. We can
and must fan that spark into a blaze of confidence, action
and tangible results.
As our near neighbor, Europe
shares our interest in solving this, the central crisis of
our age. All sides respect Europe’s neutral role and
model of regional progress and peace. For years you have been
our partner in the search for solutions. And you will be our
partner, too, in the benefits of success: a vibrant zone of
peace and prosperity throughout our shared hemisphere.
These realities give Europe
an important and prominent role in the future of peace. I
speak especially of the European Union, and you, the voices
of Europe, here in the European Parliament. And I have come
here today to urge your active engagement, to seek your specific,
practical skills and investment in the future, and to offer
Jordan’s own commitment in the days of work that lie
There are major areas where action must begin now.
The first is support
for the negotiations and their goal: a final settlement, creating
an end to conflict, security for both Palestine and Israel,
and at long last, a sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian
We must not underestimate
the difficult days ahead. The issues are complex and decades-old.
Real grievances must be faced – and left behind. On
the positive side, Israelis and Palestinians understand their
deep, shared stake in ending the conflict. And a great amount
of work has already been done. From Oslo, through the Road
Map, through the Geneva Accords, and other initiatives –
the parameters of the solutions are in focus. I believe the
parties can get to the endgame.
But for this to happen,
it is vital that the international community be engaged. Europe
has a unique experience with the mechanisms and process of
post-conflict recovery and reconciliation. This includes creating
a security framework that can offer assurance to both sides.
European peacekeeping forces have played a constructive role
in Lebanon. Your commitment can help bring great trust to
a Palestinian-Israeli settlement.
On the ground, there is
a need, not only for resources, but for partnership –
to boost economic opportunities, create confidence that the
political process works, and help create the conditions that
will sustain peace. Both Palestinians and Israelis need to
see tangible results, and quickly. That means security from
violence and an end to occupation; but it also means better
conditions of life. In the occupied territories, the humanitarian
situation for Palestinians remains dire. People need access
to jobs and education, effective public services and more.
Such action will provide a major infusion of hope –
and be a powerful counter-argument to extremist predictions
that nothing can change.
Next week, donor nations
and institutions will meet in Paris to make commitments and
plan the way forward. European nations and the European Union
are already providing help, a commitment respected by people
throughout the region.
A second and related imperative
is to understand and articulate the potential of peace. We
must begin now to re-envision the future: a region where conflict
has given way to cooperation, where a regional economy brings
together the capabilities and resources of 22 countries –
more than 300 million people, from the Atlantic to the Indian
Ocean – and where cross-border partnerships advance
development, health, the environment and more. It is a future
that empowers people to be full participants in global progress.
And it will unleash a new scope for partnership with our European
neighbors, in science, technology and trade.
This promising future is
why we must move swiftly on a comprehensive settlement, with
action on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks. Indeed, the entire
Arab world has recognized the importance of moving forward.
The Arab Peace Initiative was affirmed, unanimously, last
spring. And it has received the support of Muslim countries
beyond the region. The opportunity is here, at long last,
for a sovereign, independent, and viable Palestinian state,
and full, normal relations between Israel and 57 Arab and
Muslim nations. This means acceptance; acceptance by key countries,
with billions of citizens, representing almost a third of
the membership of the United Nations. And that opens a shared
future of security, peace and new partnerships.
Achieving such a peace will
also make a substantial impact on other issues. Within the
region, it will create new strategic space, allowing the resolution
of other serious issues, from poverty to proliferation. Aggressive
forces will no longer be able to exploit the Palestinian cause
to serve their own ambitions and interests. Resources and
attention will be freed to advance the region’s potential
through development and reform.
We in Jordan are ready to
meet that future. We have pressed forward with our reform
program, despite regional instability. In the last decade,
we have achieved significant gains: strong economic growth,
rising per-capita incomes, and a model educational system.
And Europe has been an important partner, through private-sector
investments, as well as official assistance. Allow me to say,
we deeply appreciate the support and friendship of this Parliament
and the European Union. And we believe that in the days after
peace, our partnership can only soar higher.
Today, we can think of a larger neighborhood, one that stretches
from north of the Baltic Sea to south of the Mediterranean,
one that is shared by Europe and the Middle East. It is the
basis of the Euro-Med Partnership, our region-to-region platform
for cooperation and development. It is a relationship with
great shared interests and unlimited potential. And it is
up to us to develop our partnership to its fullest.
Today, young Europeans are
coming to adulthood, who never knew a divided Europe. Their
young counterparts, Palestinian and Israeli, have no such
positive experience; they have grown up in a world of division
and conflict. Now, together, we have an opportunity to remove
the barriers to their future, and leave the past behind.
Today, the European Parliament
has significantly more member countries than when I spoke
before Parliament only five years ago. That’s the result
of a region-wide commitment to grow the zone of partnership
and progress. The Middle East is tackling the same important
task. Now, together, we can help that work succeed.
Today, a renewed peace process
has begun. We have seen such beginnings fail in the past.
But this time, a unique confluence of events has created new
openings for success. Now, together, we can, we must, fulfill
the promise of peace.
We in Jordan know that when an olive tree takes life, planting
is only the first step. A hundred processes then go active
to create the cells and structures of life. Roots emerge,
growth occurs, and a core of strength ensures survival. From
outside comes water and support to sustain life and create
In the arena of the Middle
East, a new olive branch has just been planted. Now the real
work must begin. It is in our hands to create the process
and structures that will give peace roots, help it grow, and
sustain it into the future.
I urge you to share in this
effort. Our partnership can create an historic transformation,
and a rich harvest – years of peace and prosperity,
that will benefit our peoples and our world.
Thank you very much.