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King Abdullah, strong voice of peace and wisdom

Oct 01,2019 - Last updated at Oct 01,2019

Out of his keen concern about the continued instability in our region, His Majesty King Abdullah insists on leading the Jordanian delegation to the annual UN General Assembly session. Since his Ascension to the Throne twenty years ago, King Abdullah has been carrying major issues of concern for regional peace and stability to the world to raise awareness and seek due international action.

This year is no exception. The Jordanian Monarch did address the 74th United Nations General Assembly session on September 24. As usual, his words were resounding and powerful.

Although his UN statement is normally meant to represent his country, King Abdullah addresses many more issues than the Jordanian ones. His agenda covers regional interests, issues of peace and stability, application of international law, promotion of virtuous human values by combating extremist trends of terrorism, hatred, religious discord, social injustice and unjustified war.

His Majesty’s UN statement this year was exceptionally powerful.

At a time when the UN is generally blamed for failing to successfully address many running conflicts as required by the provisions of its Charter, King Abdullah started by reminding the UN of its responsibilities.

“We come here in recognition of a simple reality — this General Assembly is vital to meet the dangers and seize the opportunities of our world,” the King said, adding: “Collective action — this is the promise of the United Nations. Nearly 75 years ago, this organisation was created by the specific, individual actions of member countries, coming together to shape a better future. And today, we still urgently need each and every member country to act — to act together with our global neighbours and achieve the better, safer world all of us need.” The King then asked: “For if we do not act, what hope do we have?”

This, indeed, is a stern reminder to the UN of its basic responsibilities towards the countries and the peoples it represents in light of the accumulated failures, prevailing violence, poverty, injustice and flagrant aggression.

From that point, King Abdullah moved to address some specific issues before reaching one of the most dangerous conflicts in recent history: The Arab-Israeli conflict.

He addressed the pressing issue of the youth, wondering: “What will our future look like if millions of the world’s young people continue to be denied the rich fruits of new technology and global wealth?”

He addressed the environment and urged attention to “a healthy and safe environment”, water security and climate protection at a time when the dangers of climate change resulting from human negligence and abuse are quickly destroying our environment.

King Abdullah also addressed the rising phenomenon of refugees and massive displacement of populations worldwide, alerting the international audience to the fact that as a result of the 21st century’s crises, there are more forced displacements today than at any time since World War II. He urged the UN General Assembly to help end refugee-causing crises, and to give the necessary support to the refugees and their hosts.

Next in the King’s statement was the lethal phenomenon of hatred: The subjecting of people to disrespect of their faith by extremist, hate-driven and dangerous groups. “The atrocities at mosques, churches, synagogues and temples have shocked the conscience of the world.” The King demanded collective effort “to defeat those groups and their message of hate and mistrust”.

However, the subject that constantly remains at the top of any of His Majesty’s political statements in all international forums, as well is in any of his discussions with world leaders, is the question of Palestine and the injustice done to the Palestinian people. While advising the UN General Assembly that “collective action is vital for ending bitter crises and conflicts”. He went on to add that “no crisis has done more global damage than the core conflict in my region, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”. King Abdullah reminded his audience that 40 years ago, his late father, King Hussein, “who loved peace”, he said, stood in the same place and “decried the occupation and attempts”, in his words, "to eradicate from the world's memory centuries of history and tradition and of spiritual, moral and cultural ideals".

King Abdullah described the continuation of the occupation as “a global moral tragedy” before asserting that “no occupation, no displacements, no acts of force, can erase people's history, hopes, or rights, or change the true heritage of shared values among the three monotheistic faiths. And nothing can take away the international rights of the Palestinian people to equality, justice and self-determination.”

On the highly significant issue of Jerusalem, and in his capacity as the Custodian of the Muslim and Christian Holy Places in the historic city, King Abdullah decried any attempts to alter the legal status or the authentic historic character of the holy city of Jerusalem.

And in line with the King’s relentless efforts to reach a peaceful settlement for this chronic conflict that has been directly linked to the continuing instability, violence and extremism in our region, King Abdullah pressed for an end to the conflict by agreement on a just, lasting and durable peace through the realisation of a two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of international law and the relevant UN resolutions.

His Majesty’s UN message this year is particularly significant, coming at a time when the region is faced by mounting security challenges and renewed crises. Recognised worldwide as a powerful voice of peace and wisdom, the Jordanian king’s message carries hope as well as promise. Let us hope it will have the strictly needed effect for helping our part of the world escape more tragedies and disastrous wars.

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