AMMAN –– Jordanians today mark the 13th anniversary of the passing of His Majesty King Hussein, who died at the age of 63 on February 7, 1999 following a battle with cancer.

A direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad, King Hussein was born on November 14, 1935 as the eldest son of King Talal and Queen Zein Al Sharaf.

He was proclaimed King on May 2, 1952 at the age of 18 and assumed his constitutional powers on May 2, 1953.

At the time of his death King Hussein was the longest serving executive head of state in the world.

Throughout his five-decade rule, the late King worked hard to raise the living standards of his people and during his reign the literacy rate rose dramatically.

The late King’s commitment to democracy, civil liberties and human rights helped make Jordan a model state in the region.

He believed that the key to a brighter future lay in working together towards the goals of conflict resolution, peace, education for enlightened citizenship and leadership, and the values of community, mutual understanding and sustainable development.

Enhancing joint Arab coordination was a priority for King Hussein, who believed that solving outstanding issues and conflicts between Arab countries should be done through upholding the higher Arab interest and believing in the common destiny of the Arab nation.

During the late King’s reign, several agricultural projects were implemented, including the establishment of the East Ghor Canal, known as the King Abdullah Canal, which irrigates hundreds of thousands of dunums of land in the Jordan Valley, as well as several dams and artesian wells.

February 7 also marks the day His Majesty King Abdullah assumed his constitutional powers.

On Monday, the King received several cables from senior officials congratulating him on the anniversary of his assumption of constitutional powers.

Since his accession to the Throne in 1999 after King Hussein’s passing, King Abdullah has focused on enhancing the capabilities of Jordanians, entrenching the concept of respect and dignity of citizens, ensuring sovereignty of the law, realising equality, justice and equal opportunities for all, in addition to focusing on pushing the development process forward and highlighting the effective role of Jordan in the international arena.

Over the past years, King Abdullah launched several initiatives and issued directives to implement projects designed to push forward the development process in the Kingdom at various political, economic, social and cultural levels, and ensure decent living conditions for Jordanians.

The Monarch constantly underlines that national unity is everyone's responsibility, highlighting that Jordan is for all Jordanians and that the sense of belonging is measured only by achievements, while the diversity of roots and heritage enrich the Jordanian identity.

Due to his commitment to follow up closely on services provided to citizens, the King has paid several surprise visits, sometimes undercover, to state agencies and institutions in order to check on the quality of services.

Known for his support for the freedom of the press, King Abdullah repeatedly underscores the significant role the media plays in opening bridges of communications between citizens and state agencies, in addition to unveiling areas of imbalance or corruption.

The King's commitment to press freedom was manifested in his Letter of Designation to Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh's government, in which he underlined that the media must be open to all political opinions and orientations in a manner that ensures that all types of media serve as platforms for constructive national dialogue.