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Improving citizens’ living conditions was King’s major focus during 2018

Internationally, Jerusalem, global war on terror were His Majesty’s top priorities

By JT - Dec 30,2018 - Last updated at Dec 31,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah listens to a Battle of Karameh veteran as he attends a ceremony in the Jordan Valley to mark the 50th anniversary of the battle on March 18, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — Upgrading citizens’ living conditions and alleviating their financial burdens, as well as job creation and investment attraction were the major focus of His Majesty King Abdullah during 2018 at the local level.

At the regional and international levels, the King’s primary focus was placed on Jerusalem, the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the fight against terrorism and Syria.

The King was named in November as the 2018 Templeton Prize laureate for his work promoting religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other faiths.

“The King’s long quest to promote peace-affirming Islam gained momentum in 2004 in the wake of the Iraq war, when the fragile unity of Sunni and [Shiite] Muslims in the region was at substantial risk,” a statement by the Templeton Foundation said.

The annual award was established in 1972 by British entrepreneur Sir John Templeton to those who have “made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension”.

During his meetings with Cabinet members, parliamentarians and other stakeholders, the King stressed that the economic reforms being implemented must take into consideration protecting low-income Jordanians and empowering the middle class.

His Majesty also called for offering quality services to citizens, stressing that shortcomings in providing vital services such as education, healthcare and transport will not be tolerated.

The nationwide protests against the 2018 amendments to Income Tax Law in June were a source of pride for the King. At the time, the King said during a meeting with media leasers he was proud to see protesters exercise their right to express themselves in a civilised manner, “which reflects their keenness on a better future for them”.

During his meetings His Majesty also stressed the importance of applying the law firmly to all, without hesitation or favouritism, re-affirming that “no one is bigger than the country”.

The King also checked on progress made in plans and measures undertaken by the government to reform the public sector, including the e-government project and future steps in that regard. The King urged accelerated implementation of the plans in question with no delay.

In an interview with the Russian TASS News Agency that was broadcast on Russia-24 Television, the King said: “Every time I wake up in the morning, [I ask myself:] Can I make today a better day for my people?” The interview with the King was held during his visit to Russia in February, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin over bilateral ties and other issues of mutual concern. 

The Monarch, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF), inaugurated the Royal Tank Museum, which exhibits around 110 Jordanian and international tanks and armoured vehicles, some of which were used in the battles of the JAF.

The King also held several meetings with Arab and foreign leaders both in the country and outside, where he reiterated that the key to resolving the region’s crises is through a just solution to the long-running Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state formula that leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement to relocate the US’ embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem, the King held talks with US Vice President Mike Pence in Amman, during which he stressed that “Jerusalem is precious to Muslims and Christians, as it is to Jews, and key to region’s peace and stability”.

During meetings with other world leaders, His Majesty stressed that Jordan will continue to undertake its historical and religious role as protector of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, in line with the Hashemite Custodianship, with the aim of preserving the Arab, Muslim and Christian identity of the city.

The Monarch’s meetings also covered the economic challenges that UNRWA faces, and the means to support the UN organisation to continue providing basic services to more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees.

His Majesty also discussed coordination of international efforts in the war on terror during the Aqaba Meetings and at other world gatherings. 

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