Media & Communication Directorate
Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)
Jordan adopts evolutionary pluralistic approach to reform, says King
Amman, 26 June 2013
His Majesty King Abdullah said that those who are keen on the future of the region, its stability and the security of its people must put an end to the regional expansion of the Syrian crisis, which is spiralling and mounting.
In an interview on Wednesday with Editor-in-Chief of the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper Adel Tarif, His Majesty called for more serious Arab and international coordination to stop the spill-over and limit the repercussions of the Syrian crisis.
"We are running out of time," the King warned.
His Majesty affirmed that the Jordanian people are aware of how serious and critical the current stage is, and of the security challenge posed by the Syrian crisis. The deterrent to any external danger lies in national cohesion, he added. "Thank God, our internal front is united and is the key factor when it comes to protecting Jordan. For, each and every one of us believes that he/she is a partner in defending our homeland, its achievements and assets.”
“It is so painful to see Syria and its cities, the oldest in human history, morph into a patchwork of violence and hatred,” the King said. “It is painful to me and all Jordanians to see Syrian blood spilled. The situation has deteriorated to a point where everyone, inside and outside Syria, should stand up and say: Enough.”
King Abdullah warned that fanning the fire of sectarianism in the Arab and Muslim world will have devastating consequences for generations to come. “The sum of all fears is that the Syrian conflict could expand into a fitna between the region’s Sunnis and Shiites,” he warned.
If efforts to end the strife and bloodshed in Syria and reach an inclusive transitional political settlement succeed, Sunnis and Shiites in the country can re-conciliate and coexist in the future, and Syria’s territorial integrity and the unity of its people can be preserved, His Majesty stressed.
“As a Muslim and a Hashemite, it is my historical responsibility to work with all my power with the rational in the Arab and Islamic worlds to prevent a blind fitna and urge politicians and clerics not to incite people, sow sedition and exploit religion for political purposes,” the King said.
On the peace process, His Majesty said peace is a higher national security interest for Jordan. “As for us in Jordan, we are effectively contributing to creating a positive atmosphere that can help the Palestinians and Israelis return to direct negotiations and seize the available opportunity to make peace before chances for the two-state solution fade away.”
Answering a question about the recent Jordanian-Palestinian agreement that enroots His Majesty’s historical role to protect East Jerusalem’s holy places, the King said that there is a historical and legal context to this agreement. It aims at updating the legal framework of the Hashemite custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem, in line with the new legal status of the Palestinian state.
“The agreement, as far as I am concerned, is the banner for the religious, moral and historical responsibility I have as a Hashemite, a responsibility that I inherited from my forefather Sharif Hussein bin Ali, who undertook the first Hashemite renovation at Al Haram Al Sharif.”
On reform efforts, the King said the latest elections and ensuing parliamentary consultations that led to the formation of the government are an experiment and a step on the path of democratisation and entrenchment of the parliamentary government approach, with all the lessons it entails and the experience gained from such an experiment.
"Our society is heading towards democracy and active citizenship," the King said, adding that several frameworks and channels for expression, representation and democratic empowerment are in place, either directly through the Lower House and civil society, or through the media and collective or individual voluntary work.
Jordan is also moving towards municipal elections and all will have a new opportunity to participate and express their views and shoulder the responsibility of representing the people, he affirmed.
Jordan, His Majesty added, has adopted an evolutionary pluralistic approach to reform, away from chaos and from leaps into the unknown.
"We, in Jordan, are doing our utmost to provide all elements of democratisation, including constitutional institutions that guarantee the political process and pluralism, progressive and fair legislation, checks and balances, separation of powers, a vibrant civil society and real, platform-based parties that make it to parliament and form governments on the basis of a parliamentary majority and a constructive opposition," the King said.
On the economy, His Majesty said efforts are being exerted to protect and stimulate the national economy, empower the social segments most susceptible to the repercussions of regional and international economic and political crises that are beyond the Kingdom's control.
The socio-economic approach in Jordan, the King said, seeks to invest in the citizen to enhance the Kingdom's competitiveness and build on the positive indicators that distinguish Jordan’s qualified workforce.
"Despite the economic crisis, we have, thank God, and thanks to citizens’ awareness, introduced a set of measures to remain on the right track. As a result, we are witnessing economic growth, against all odds," he affirmed.
On ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council, His Majesty expressed pride in his "brotherly" relations with the leaders of the Arab Gulf states, adding that Jordan has historical ties with these countries, “especially the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
“The advanced levels reached in our mechanisms of coordination and to ensure closeness in our stances reflect my deep relationship with my brother the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who has been championing groundbreaking efforts to enhance Arab solidarity and joint action,” the King said.
He added that there are constants for this relationship, foremost of which is the absolute belief that the national security of the Arab Gulf countries and Jordan’s are inseparable.
"That makes us firmly believe that the security of our brothers in the Gulf is an integral part of our national security," His Majesty added.
Recent events and regional tension, he affirmed, have proven the importance of coordination and consultation and highlighted the historical bonds between Jordan and the Arab Gulf states, in light of the geographic and strategic depth both are to each other.
"This requires continuous harmony in our positions on regional and Arab issues to protect our common interests," the King noted.