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Monday, October 30, 2006

King, Queen in Netherlands

King urges more efforts to advance Mideast peace

(Royal Hashemite Court, Communication & Information Division - The Hague) His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday urged the international community to press Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table and forge a lasting Middle East peace. 
 
"It's time to move the peace forward," King Abdullah said in remarks to the Dutch parliament. 
 
"We need an international partnership of action to encourage and support a return to negotiations and keep the parties moving towards results." The King said peace and stability in the Middle East can only come by tackling what he called the region's core problem, "the continuing denial of Palestinian rights." 
 
"Until we end that wrong, new generations will remain vulnerable to the sponsors of hate and violence, and conflict will breed more conflict, year after year," he said. 
 
The answer, he told members of both houses of the Dutch legislature, is "a two-state solution guaranteeing Israel's security to live at peace with its neighbours and providing, at long last, a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine." 
 
King Abdullah's remarks came on the first day of a three-day state visit to the Netherlands with Queen Rania. They were met at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport by Dutch Queen Beatrix, then given a warm welcome at Noordeinde Palace with an honour guard. The Dutch queen presented the King with a prestigious medal. 
 
In his speech, King Abdullah also said the world must help Iraq rebuild and restore stability. 
 
"A civil war in Iraq would be a major threat to the stability of all neighboring states and we must reach out to all groups to assure them of our support for Iraq's stability and to assist them in fighting terrorism," he said. 
 
Full Speech 
 
Meanwhile, Queen Beatrix hosted a state banquet in honour of Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania. In his remarks, the King underscored the friendship between the two Royal families "in times of joy as well as in times of sorrow." 
 
"The values our families hold in common: Love of our countries and people… a duty to serve… and our belief in the future." 
 
He said his visit to the Netherlands was "to express Jordan's continuing friendship and esteem" to this European kingdom which, the King said, is committed to "moral leadership and practical action." 
 
"We appreciate the Netherlands' work for peace and global justice. … Your country spoke out clearly and forcefully to end the aggression in Lebanon this summer. Most important, the Dutch people have consistently supported a Middle East peace in accord with legality, including the viable, independent Palestine that is so urgently needed," he said. 
 
King Abdullah said Jordan is building an open, civil society based on human rights, the rule of law, tolerance, and inclusion. 
 
The Dutch queen, for her part, commended the role Jordan is playing in efforts to bring an end to conflicts and violence plaguing the region, hailing the Kingdom as a pluralist, democratic and tolerant country whose people are dynamic and educated. 
 
She said King Abdullah was following in the footsteps of King Hussein in playing a focal role in the modernization and adaptation process that came in response to the huge challenges facing the country. 
 
Queen Beatrix also praised the King for his efforts to enhance interfaith and intercultural dialogue. 
 
Earlier in the day, the King met CEOs of major Dutch firms interested in investment in Jordan. 
 
He said Jordan's economy was prospering despite the critical conditions prevailing in the region, noting that real GDP growth in the first half of the current year stood at 6.4 per cent, while the ratio of public debt to GDP was reduced to 56 per cent. 
 
King Abdullah, who underlined the leading role of the private sector in national economy, said Jordan was interested in making business with Dutch companies working in the fields of alternative energy and railroad construction.