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Thursday, February 20, 2003

Queen Rania talks to Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News: “As we try to wage a campaign against terror, we also have to launch a campaign for peace.”

Back here in Amman, Jordan, on a cold and rainy night. As I said earlier, by virtue of its geography with Iraq, Syria and Israel for neighbors, and its modest economic circumstances, Jordan has so much at stake in the decision on whether there will be a war against Iraq. And two people caught in the middle of all the cross currents are this country's king and queen. King Abdullah, who succeeded his father, the late King Hussein, and his wife, Queen Rania. We met today at their home in the hills west of Amman, and the king explained that he prefers not to publicly comment on his efforts to find a way out of war, which will take him to London this week. But King Abdullah and Queen Rania have a common concern about what happens in fact if there is war.

Queen Rania: With war, there's going to be the destruction of homes, the displacement of people, the destruction of lives. It'll be a very big strain on our country and our economy. And I think the international community needs to realize that they have a responsibility towards these refugees. It's not a problem just for Jordan.

Do you think that there may be an opportunity in the refugee situation for the rest of the world to begin to get at these cultural differences that exist?

Queen Rania: As we try to wage a campaign against terror, we also have to launch a campaign for peace. Let's just take a step back and see why are we doing this? You know, when you look at the United States, for how
long are people going to be living in fear like this? In order to really get that sense of security, we need to make sure that we have positive initiatives taking place in the world.
At this stage, are you optimistic or pessimistic that these great problems will get resolved?

Queen Rania: There are reasons to be both. You know, sometimes when I think of a war situation, that makes me feel very sad and pessimistic. But at the same time, when I see how much people are interested, I feel that, you know, maybe we could--maybe we could take this kind of energy and--and channel it into something--something positive.

Your Majesty, thank you very much.

Queen Rania: Thank you.
Queen Rania of Jordan.

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