The Aqaba Summit:
Statement by King Abdullah II

(June 4, 2003)


President Bush, Prime Minister Sharon, Prime Minister Abbas, distinguished guests. We gather today in Aqaba. It's a small city that symbolizes the potential of bringing different peoples signed a peace treaty in 1994. Nine years later, what brings us here is the same dream: a dream of peace, prosperity, coexistence and reconciliation.

But dreams alone cannot fulfill hopes. It is thanks to the efforts of President Bush, and the commitments of Prime Minister Sharon and Prime Minister Abbas that we meet here today to transform these dreams into real achievements on the ground.

Mr. President, Prime Ministers, let us have ambitions: ambitions to move beyond the violence and occupation, to the day when two states, Palestine and Israel, can live together side by side in peace and security.

And in our hands today we hold the mechanism that can translate these ambitions into realities on the ground. There is a plan, the road map, that addresses the needs of both Palestinians and Israelis. To the Israelis, this plan offers collective security guarantees by all Arabs, a peace treaty, and normal relations with Arab states and an end to the conflict. To the Palestinians, it offers an end to the occupation, a viable state and the promise to live as a free and prosperous people.

To be sure the road to realizing this vision will not be straightforward or without obstacles. I'm aware that many in our region and around the world, you are gathering today through a lens marred with skepticism and suspicion. The failures and frustrations of the past have left many disbelievers in their wake.

Today, we have an opportunity and obligation to reinstate faith in the process and to reinvigorate hopes for a better tomorrow. We simply cannot afford the alternative.

Over the past few years, the road to confrontation has shown its consequences: loss of innocent lives, destruction and fear. Most costly, however, was the loss of hope. The most precious gift that you can present to your peoples over the coming weeks is renewed hope born out of tangible progress on the ground.

And it's not only your people who will be watching and waiting. The eyes of the entire world will be upon you. The nature of our new borderless world means that we all have a stake in what happens here today. Jordanians, Americans, Europeans and many around the world stand ready and willing to lend all their support to ensure your success.

But at the end of the day, it is you, the Palestinians and the Israelis, who have to come together to resolve the many outstanding issues that divide you.

Many will view the compromises that will be made during your negotiations as painful concessions. But why not view them as peace offerings, ones that will provide in return the priceless gifts of hope, security and freedom for our children and our children's children.

It is only by putting yourselves in each other's shoes that we can hope to achieve real progress. Thus we reaffirm today our strong position against violence in any form and from whatever source. Blowing up buses will not induce the Israelis to move forward, and neither will the killing of Palestinians or the demolition of their homes and their future. All this needs to stop. And we pledge that Jordan will do its utmost to help achieve it.

Mr. President, you have stayed the course. Your presence here today to witness the two leaders meeting together, agreeing on common grounds to solve this conflict, provides a great impetus to move forward and a clear answer to all the skeptics.

I thank you, sir, for your leadership and your courage.

Prime Minister Sharon, Prime Minister Abbas, I urge you today to end the designs of those who seek destruction, annihilation and occupation, and I urge you to have the will and the courage to begin to realize our dreams of peace, prosperity and coexistence. And remember that in the pursuit of these noble goals Jordan will always remain a true friend.

Thank you very much.

And it is with great pleasure if I may introduce Prime Minister Abbas to say a few words.


Source: Washington Post, (June 4, 2003)