Interview with His Majesty King Abdullah II

Hussein El-Harbi
Al Rai Al Aam
16 September 2008
(Translated from Arabic)

His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan emphasised the strength of relations between Kuwait and Jordan, describing them, in an interview with Al Rai Al Aam on the eve of his visit to Kuwait, as being at their best. The King said there is regular coordination between Jordanian and Kuwaiti officials on numerous subjects of concern to Jordanians and Kuwaitis, as well as to the Arab and Islamic nations.

King Abdullah said he believes the best path to transcending the Iranian nuclear issue crisis is diplomacy, adding that Jordan does not want to see military intervention against Iran because it will provoke responses that will affect all the countries of the region which are not in need of more conflicts.

He also said that the current situation in Iraq inspires a sense of optimism, and that Arabs have a chance to turn a new page with Iraq. He added that Jordan would continue to work to advance the peace process to realise the establishment of the Palestinian state on Palestinian land.

Following is the text of the interview:

Al Rai Al Aam: How do you evaluate the relations between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Kuwait, especially now that you are visiting Kuwait and are being hosted by its people?

King Abdullah: Our relations with Kuwait are distinguished, strong and at their best. Coordination and consultation are continuous with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jabir Al Sabah and other Kuwaiti officials. Our contacts in different areas are meant to benefit the people of our two countries, as well as the Arab and Islamic world. We want to continuously strengthen and advance bilateral cooperation in all fields, especially economic and investment exchange.

Al Rai Al Aam: What are Jordan and Arab Gulf states required to do in order to prevent an escalation of tension in the region concerning Iran’s nuclear capabilities? Do you expect serious developments in this issue?

King Abdullah: Our stance is identical to, and in harmony with, the stances of the Arab Gulf states concerning this issue. We have repeatedly emphasised that the best approach to end the Iranian nuclear crisis is diplomacy and dialogue. Jordan does not want to see military intervention against Iran, because it will stir responses that will affect all the countries of the region, and none of us need more conflict that threatens our people.

Al Rai Al Aam: Do you expect that the Palestinians will reconcile, and that the Israeli–Palestinian negotiating track will move forward? Or will there be stagnation during this period in anticipation of American elections?

King Abdullah: Over the past years, we exerted tremendous efforts to focus on the Palestinian issue, because it is our core issue and the root of conflict in the region. We intend to continue our efforts and to continue communications with all parties, because we believe that progress must be achieved in the peace process to realise the establishment of a Palestinian state on Palestinian territory.

I spoke recently with a number of European leaders, asking them to support the negotiating process so that we might see results on some of the outstanding issues, in particular, those issues related to the final status.

Although the pace of negotiations is slow, especially given the Israeli obstacles – settlement-building, changing the status quo in Jerusalem, and other contested issues such as the refugee issue – we shall not give up. We will continue to exert pressure to realise a just and comprehensive peace that ends the occupation and gives Palestinians their rights.

Al Rai Al Aam: Will matters cool down gradually in Iraq and will Iraqis go about building their state? Do you expect the terrorist wave led by Arab and Muslim extremists in more than one Arab territory to subside?

King Abdullah: The situation in Iraq is a cause for optimism. I do believe that Iraqi society is moving in the right direction by shunning sectarianism and violence, and attending to building a unified Iraq that is able to stand up to challenges. They have worked together – Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis – to improve conditions in Iraq over the past months.

I think that Arabs today have a chance to turn a new page with Iraq, on the basis of our conviction that our relations with Iraq should serve the interests of the two countries. This is what motivated my visit to Iraq last month. While I was there, I met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, and our discussions focused on the development of bilateral relations, on how Jordan could support efforts to strengthen the security and stability of Iraq and on the opportunities for economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries.