At the 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club

Remarks by His Majesty King Abdullah II

At the 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club

03 October 2019

كلمة جلالة الملك عبدالله الثاني خلال الجلسة الرئيسية لمنتدى"فالداي" للحوار

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful


My dear friend, President Putin,

My brothers, presidents of Azerbaijan, of Kazakhstan and the Philippines,

Your Excellencies:

Thank you all for your warm welcome. I am delighted to be back in Russia and see so many friends, including my dear friend for almost twenty years, President Putin. Mr President, you have been a great supporter of the future of my region, and I thank you for your steadfast partnership with Jordan.

Indeed, today, Russia's role is pivotal in multiple regions and arenas—in economic, security and diplomatic matters, and the interfaith relations that are so vital to the future. And that is the unique importance of the Valdai Discussion Club; your forum has built a world reputation, not only for tackling serious global issues, but for opening your doors to Russia's partners. It is a pleasure to join the dialogue here today.

My friends,

In 2009, Jordan was chosen as the site of Valdai's first-ever Middle East conference to discuss issues of the day and the region’s future.

Now, that was 10 years ago, and as you know, these past 10 years have brought quite a few new issues to talk about. But some realities are constant.

Jordan and Russia continue to share a deep understanding of the need for active, practical collaboration to achieve regional and global peace.

Jordan and Russia also remain committed to the core values that bind us all together, and acting on them is the most important weapon we have against extremism and division.

And Jordan and Russia continue to seek a peaceful, stable Middle East.

My region's strategic complexity defines our challenges, but also our opportunities. We have a role in achieving any positive new world order. This is Jordan's outward vision for inclusive, sustainable growth, despite regional turmoil. Our country's stability and moderation, and our globally-connected, highly motivated young population, have helped us build partnerships worldwide.

Our partners also share our critical interest in resolving crises in the Middle East—the extremist threat, the Syrian crisis, and above all, the denial of Palestinian statehood. These are not simply regional issues; they are global.

In Syria, ISIS has experienced major defeats. Negotiated ceasefires have brought a significant break in the violence. And Jordan has worked closely alongside Russia, the US, and other international partners to stabilise the situation in southern Syria. We continue to bear a massive refugee burden, alleviating the impact on other regions, but the refugee situation remains costly and dire.

The end to this crisis will come only with a political solution, one that preserves Syria's unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and enables the safe and voluntary return of refugees. Jordan supports the Geneva Process and complementary initiatives, especially the Astana Process, in accord with UN resolutions. And results would not be possible without Russia's role.

Next, the terrorist threat. Regional victories against the khawarej, the outlaws of Islam, should not blind us to the long-term and global nature of this challenge. The threat, not just from the khawarej, but from Islamophobic and racist extremists as well, is a danger to every region. In the Aqaba Process and other initiatives, Jordan is working with countries from Asia to Africa to Europe to meet the threat within a holistic approach. And above all, we need to ensure young people have hope.

The subject of hope brings me to the core crisis of our region and the world, and that is the denial of a Palestinian state. Jordan and Russia agree on the urgent need for a two-state solution. Our region will not enjoy broad security and stability until the Palestinian-Israeli conflict ends. And that cannot happen without a two-state solution that provides real peace, in accord with international law and UN resolutions; an end to the conflict; a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state, on the June 4th, 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, but living side-by-side with Israel, in mutual peace and security.

A deep and shared concern for all of us is safeguarding Jerusalem, its holy sites, and the historic Muslim and Christian presence in the city. Through the Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites, Jordan is working to maintain peace and defuse tensions. But all countries have an obligation to honour the Holy City’s heritage by making it a unifying city of peace.

My friends,

After 70 years, it is clear that peace in the Holy Land cannot be achieved by unilateral fiat or violence; it cannot be imposed by land grabs and walls against one's neighbours; it cannot come by flouting international law and equal human rights. And the alternative to a two-state solution is a bi-national state and an unthinkable, undemocratic regime of unequal laws. We need to take a better, more effective path. And that is something we all have a vital role in delivering.

Ten years ago, when Valdai held its first meeting on the Middle East, the theme of the conference was "The Middle East 2020: Is a Comprehensive Settlement Possible?"

And my answer today is yes; despite all the difficulties, comprehensive peace is possible—and not only possible, but necessary. But it will only happen with your help.

Let me wish the Valdai Discussion Club the best of success. And thank you for the leadership on the critical issues of our time.