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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King meets British personalities, concludes UK visit
London, 14 December 2012

His Majesty King Abdullah on Friday told a gathering of media, intellectual and political leaders in the UK that Jordan's social, economic and political reform process was proceeding “strongly and steadily.”

During a meeting at the end of an official visit to the UK, King Abdullah underlined that parliamentary elections scheduled for January 23 will be a milestone in the reform process and will be followed by other steps to meet Jordanians' aspirations for a better future.

The King, who returned home on Friday, said there will be no going back on reform, which he reiterated is not a short-term project with a definite end date but rather a long-term, cumulative effort.

His Majesty listed the steps taken in the reform process, including constitutional amendments, establishment of the Constitutional Court and Independent Elections Commission (IEC), political laws and the upcoming elections, which he said will be held on time.

The King said citizens' votes in the upcoming polls will be decisive in building the future of the country and all Jordanians should shoulder their national responsibility and electing representatives capable to serve their interests in the Parliament, which is where positive change should be achieved.

His Majesty said candidates running for Parliament should present practical and realistic plans to deal with different economic, social and political challenges, on the basis of which voters will cast their ballots.

The King underlined the importance of forming political blocs representing the right, centre and left and built on the basis of platforms that address public needs and concerns.

Following the elections, he said, another phase in the Kingdom’s political history will begin, in which the Lower House will have a new role in selecting a prime minister and forming a government.

His Majesty underlined the need to continue developing the Elections Law to ensure pluralism and fair representation, and to encourage the establishment of national political parties that can compete in the democratic process.

The King said he supports movements that seek to form parties, take part in the upcoming elections, and present their reform plans and demands through their elected representatives under the Dome.

His Majesty said the task currently at hand was to reach national consensus and ensure that the demands of the silent majority, which are not always represented by the political powers, are being addressed.

Turning to regional developments, the King underlined that despite the "great" challenges facing the Middle East, the Palestinian issue remains central, and only its permanent and just solution can solve many other problems facing the Arab world.

Stressing that reaching a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue that addresses all final status issues is a priority for the international community, he called on international and regional actors to support the two-state solution, which is the only way to bring security and stability to the region.

His Majesty warned that Israel’s settlement policies pose a dangerous threat to the peace process and the feasibility of a geographically-contiguous and independent Palestinian state.

The King called for rapid international engagement, particularly by the US and Europe, to revive the peace process and break the current impasse, stressing that this should be an international effort, especially as US President Barack Obama enters his second term.

Reiterating that the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security is the only way to realise peace in the Middle East, he warned against the consequences of wasting the available opportunity to bring about peace.

Regarding Syria, His Majesty said the situation there was "getting worse day by day" and that the ongoing failure to find a political and humanitarian solution to the crisis was causing immense suffering to the Syrian people.

The King highlighted Jordan's efforts to provide Syrian refugees, half a million of whom have fled to the Kingdom and other neighbouring countries, with basic humanitarian services and stressed the need for more international aid.

His Majesty also discussed the Arab Spring, which he called a major transformation in the history of the region, but one whose results need years to be assessed and which each Arab country has experienced differently.

He added that the Arab Spring would be judged on the basis of the Arab countries’ ability to protect pluralism, tolerance, moderation, and the rights of minorities in their democratic transitions.

The transformation should also strengthen the work of democratic institutions, improve citizens' quality of life, and lead to the establishment of governments that are accountable to citizens and follow the concepts of transparency, integrity and justice as their basic principles, the King added. 

For their part, attendees at the meeting voiced appreciation for the King's reform vision and his understanding of the challenges facing the Middle East and ways to address them.