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Speeches
Speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II
At the 22nd Arab Summit
Beirut, Lebanon
27 March 2002

(Delivered by Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb)
(Translated from Arabic)
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses
Kings, Presidents and Princes of Arab countries,

Peace be upon you, God's mercy and blessings,

This is our second summit, after the summit in Amman, which established the principle of holding an annual Arab Summit. We meet today in Lebanon, and thus seize the opportunity to congratulate our Lebanese brethren on their victory and liberation of Lebanese territory in the south.

Allow me to convey my deep thanks and appreciation to His Excellency President Emile Lahhoud, president of this summit, and to the Lebanese government, for their hospitality and warm reception, good preparation, and for taking the necessary arrangements to convene this summit.

I also would like to express my thanks and gratitude to the Secretary General of the Arab League and to league staff members for all the highly regarded efforts they exerted last year.

Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses,

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was honoured to host the previous Arab Summit, in March of last year. The Palestinian cause, the Arab nation's main cause, was then and still is, going through its most delicate and dangerous stages. This is due to policies of repression exercised by the Israeli government against our Palestinian brethren, for their legitimate struggle for freedom and their aspirations for the establishment of their independent state, on their national soil with Jerusalem as its capital.

Over the last year, our efforts focused on putting an end to what that Palestinians are enduring in terms of killing, destruction, and closure, and on urging the international community to commit Israel to honour its agreements with the Palestinians and return to negotiations in order to achieve a just solution, based on international legitimacy and agreements reached between the two parties during previous years.

The Jordanian effort to address the crisis and to halt the aggression that our brethren face is based upon the following principles:

First, the problem principally is one of politics and not of security. Therefore, it has to be dealt with on this basis. The suspension of the peace process and subsequent eruption of violence in the region result from Israel's stalling in implementing its agreements with the Palestinians, as well as its evasiveness in realising these commitments. We affirmed in all our moves and efforts, that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is the root of conflict in the region, and the military operations executed by the Israeli Army against the defenceless Palestinian people, is what motivates popular Palestinian reactions.

Second, the peace process is based upon international legitimacy, UN resolutions 242 and 338, and the principle of land for peace. Therefore, it is not within the rights of any party to impose any amendments on these terms of reference, nor to seek new interpretations aiming to disown its commitments or to retract from signed agreements.

Third, the peace process is an indivisible whole. The just, comprehensive and lasting peace that the people of the region aspire to cannot be achieved until the full attainment of all Arab rights, the most important of which, are the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, a just settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem, and the return of the Golan Heights to Syria, effected by an Israeli withdrawal, to the June 4, 1967, borders, and a further withdrawal from the remaining Lebanese territories in the Shab'aa farms area.

Fourth, the Palestinian National Authority under the leadership of His Excellency Yasser Arafat, is the legitimate Palestinian leadership. Therefore, any attempts to marginalise, weaken or substitute it should be confronted. Such attempts will only create more chaos and instability in the Palestinian territories and in the whole region as well.

Stemming from these principles, and as president of the previous Arab Summit, I contacted different parties concerned with the peace process, beginning with the USA, Russia, European Union, China, UN and other international organisations. The Palestinian issue was the most prominent in all discussions I conducted in these capitals. These efforts, as well as others rendered by our brethren states, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the Palestinian leadership itself, led to an international consensus to endorse the need to terminate the Israeli occupation, and to create an independent Palestinian state. Such consensus was largely manifested in the positive American and European stance in this regard, and the endorsement of UN resolution 1397.

Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses,

On the Iraq-Kuwait situation, we agreed in our last summit in Amman, to exert more efforts to begin a new page, and to resume normal relations between the two brotherly states.

Our efforts in this regard were based upon the Arab League Constitution, which safeguards peace and security of every state, protects states' sovereignty on their own territories and protects their right to enjoy no interference in their internal affairs, and to resort to dialogue as a base and method for settling differences.

Accordingly, we have reaffirmed the importance of respecting the independence and sovereignty of the State of Kuwait and guaranteeing its security and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders.

Simultaneously, we reaffirmed the respect of Iraqi sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and supported an end to the imposed blockade and other procedures which infringe on its security and sovereignty over all its territories.

Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses,

The terrorist acts inflicted upon American cities last September posed a new challenge to Arabs and Muslims. Some ignorant following of the Islamic faith used Islam's principles and noble values to distort the image of Islam and Muslims. This prompted us to interact with Western public opinion in order to dispel these accusations. I assured the American administration, and all Western officials whom I met, of the Arab stance on these events, which is based on the following facts:

First, the Arab World condemns and rejects all forms of terrorism, and the Islamic faith is innocent of any such false accusations. Terrorism is linked to no specific religion, nor to any particular people.

Second, the Arab World refuses categorically any attempts to use these events, as a pretence to attack any Arab state, or hold Arab states responsible for them. Any attempt to link or compare these events to what is happening in the occupied Palestinian territories is totally opposed as baseless.

Third, combating terrorism anywhere the world should not be confined to military operations, but should establish fundamental and fair solutions to a number of political, economic and social problems from which many peoples suffer. Frustration and despair, poverty and the sense of absence of justice anywhere in this world, can constitute a fertile environment for the spread of violence and terrorism.

Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses,

Israel is attempting to convince the world that its security will remain threatened, even if a settlement is reached with our Palestinian brethren, claiming that the Palestinian National Authority is unable to honour its commitments due to Arab interference in the Authority's decisions. Therefore, the commitment of all Arab states at the 1974 Rabat Summit, should be stressed. The Rabat Summit requires us all, to respect and support the decisions of the Palestinian National Authority decisions as the legitimate Palestinian leadership, without interference in or tampering with the decisions of the Palestinian leadership. The Palestinian National Authority is capable of best identifying its own people's interest and sufferings under the occupation.

The absence of the Palestinian leader from this summit requires all of us to provide more support and backing to the Palestinian brethren in facing Israeli arrogance.

We also have to stress our commitment to the 1996 Cairo Summit resolution, which clearly states that a just and comprehensive peace, based on international legitimacy, Madrid's terms of reference, and the principle of land for peace, is a strategic aim for the Arab nation.

The return of Arab rights and all occupied territories to its peoples would guarantee the prevalence of balanced and equal security to all countries in the region, including Israel. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz's initiative, which we endorse and support, constitutes a primary foundation for achieving comprehensive peace in the region. We see that this initiative embodies Saudi Arabia's constant and continuous keenness to support our Palestinian brethren and their rights and just cause, especially at this critical period of their noble struggle under occupation, siege, and barbaric military operations which Israeli forces exercise against the defenceless and unarmed Palestinian people.

This initiative also sends a clear message to the whole world that the Arabs want peace and that they are working to achieve peace for all the peoples of the region, and that Israel is the one blocking the achievement of peace.

Majesties, Excellencies, Highnesses,

Whilst we congratulate our Lebanese brethren in presiding over this Arab Summit, we implore God to guide us all to the good of our Arab Nation, and to help His Excellency the President of Lebanon Emile Lahhoud shoulder his immense responsibilities, assuring him that we will do our utmost to offer him all our support and cooperation to make his great mission a success.

Peace, God's mercy and his blessings be upon you.