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Speeches
Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II
At the Euro-Mediterranean Summit
Barcelona, Spain
28 November 2005

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,

Your Excellencies,
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner,
My friends,

I speak to you tonight on behalf of millions of Jordanians, who seek global peace in defiance of terror and hatred.

The bombings in Amman this month are evidence – once again – of our urgent need to work together in global defence of our peoples and our future. In Amman, as in Sharm El Sheikh, Casablanca, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid, London and elsewhere, extremists showed their contempt for humanity. Theirs is a profoundly anti-Islamic agenda. Only by distorting and abandoning the true teachings of Islam, can anyone kill innocent civilians. The Quran says (2:208): O you who believe, enter into peace entirely…. And it admonishes (5:87): Do not transgress; truly God does not love the transgressors.

My friends, the Arab world will not be set back. We will not close the doors on opportunity for our youth. We will not shut off dialogue and cooperation with our friends around the world. We will help lead this century – a century that, with our help, can bring peace, freedom and prosperity to billions of people.

Our relationship with Europe is key to that future. Ten years ago, the first Euro-Med Summit recognised the shared destiny of our regions. It acknowledged, frankly, that lasting security and prosperity cannot be achieved by our nations in isolation. It agreed that we must address the economic gaps between our regions. We must work together for peace. And it established the three-basket framework for partnership and progress.

Today the Euro-Med Partnership is more important than ever. Its success will deliver the opportunities that our young people need, create the stability for freedom to thrive and provide a global model of mutual respect among nations. This makes cooperation and dialogue more than just ideals – they are critical strategies for a future of peace and well-being.

It is because extremists understand the power of our cooperation that they are working so hard to divide the world into hostile camps. We must defeat their strategy. That requires action on all fronts: effective security cooperation, yes – but also economic, legal, social, and political outreach.

The Euro-Med partnership recognises this comprehensive approach. Jordan was proud to be the first Mashreq country to sign a partnership agreement. We were among the first to participate in the European Neighbourhood Policy. And we have made significant progress on a joint action plan. Last year, Jordan joined Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in signing the Aghadir Agreement – a step toward closer regional cooperation, another goal of the Barcelona Process.

Jordan's active participation in these efforts and others, reflects our larger national vision. We seek sustainable development and reform: not short-term, narrow-impact measures, but deep, lasting change that benefits all citizens. To advance this process, we brought together stakeholders from across society to form Jordan's National Agenda Committee. The energy and support of civil society and the private sector are critical, and we have involved them every step of the way.

And let me say, the strength and will of Jordanian society was amply demonstrated in the national response to the mass murders in Amman. People from all walks of life marched in solidarity against the extremist threat to our country. And they did more: they got back to their work and their lives, to demonstrate their fearless belief in our country's future.

The National Agenda institutionalises reform by articulating our priorities for the next 10 years. Its requirements meet and exceed the goals of joint plan with the EU. Our goals are clear: effective, inclusive political institutions, a growing, opportunity-rich economy, and an expanded future for all citizens. We have put special emphasis on human rights, the empowerment of women and education and opportunity for our youth.

The National Committee's report was officially presented to me last week. Implementation has already begun. Jordan is absolutely committed to moving forward. And we are deeply grateful to our European partners for their support.

My friends,

The European-Mediterranean partnership holds promise for all of our countries. But it has not yet delivered on its greatest hope: peace, stability and prosperity across our whole neighbourhood. Key to our future is a new dialogue of cultures – a dialogue that can strengthen our common bonds and bring us together. All of us have a responsibility to promote the inter-cultural, inter-faith respect that such dialogue depends on.

Jordan is working with the international Muslim community to oppose extremist violence and false teachings. A year ago, we issued the Amman Message – a call to peaceful coexistence and progress. It supports tolerance and respect for others and the pursuit of peace. We have followed this up with concrete measures to affirm Islam's central, moderate core. And we are working with our European friends to increase understanding and good-will.

Together, we must also end the sources of misunderstanding, division and frustration. My friends, we must bring peace to the Middle East.

In peacemaking – just as in reform – Jordan has consistently urged a measurable process with milestones along the way and a clear end-game. For Palestinians, for Israelis: a lasting, just solution; two states, living beside each other in peace and security, a sovereign, viable Palestinian state, security for Israel, and a comprehensive settlement that can bring regional reconciliation. For Iraqis, reconstruction and hope: a stable, unified Iraq, with a rebuilt economy and an inclusive civil society. We urgently need to move forward. Violence and instability in the region are threats to security and prosperity for all our peoples. Working together, I believe we can help usher in a new and more positive era.

In this effort, Europe plays a central role. We are grateful for your leadership in the Quartet process. The Euro-Med process itself contributes by helping countries work in practical ways toward shared goals. Together, let us continue to keep up the pressure for peace and progress.

My friends,

There are deep and historic ties between our peoples. My region is the birthplace of our common history. For millennia, goods and ideas have crossed the sea between us. The truth is that there is far more to tie us than to divide us. Together, we can expand and strengthen that middle ground.

In Arabic, the Mediterranean is named Al Bahr Al Abyad Al Mutwasset – the White Middle Sea. The name evokes the white-capped waves of this great waterway and its central position in our peoples' history. In European languages, too, the Med has long been named for its role at the middle of the region's life.

Today, the Mediterranean, the Middle Sea, stands again at the centre: a middle ground for both Europe and its southern partners, to come together and move forward. Let us meet at that middle, to make today's promises real, for all our people. To create the peace and prosperity our citizens need. And together, in partnership, to bring justice, understanding and a new era of hope.

Thank you very much.