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King Abdullah of Jordan delivers opening speech at Arab Summit

His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan delivered the opening address of the 29th Arab Summit yesterday in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The Jordanian monarch was president of the 28th Arab Summit – held in Jordan in March of last year – and in his speech, he thanked the Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the staff of the Arab League for all their work during the 28th Arab Summit.

Speaking to the assembled Arab leaders and heads of delegations His Majesty said: “Last year, we had the honour and the responsibility of assuming the presidency of the Arab Summit. We reaffirmed the need to bolster and activate joint Arab action, and adopted comprehensive and lasting peace as a strategic Arab option—in accordance with international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative.”

King Abdullah spoke about the collective duty of the Arab countries to reject violence and to stand with Palestinians as they struggle to gain the right to pursue independent statehood and live with peace and security.

“We must reaffirm the eternal rights of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and Christians to Jerusalem, which is the key to peace in the region and must be the cornerstone for achieving a comprehensive solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative.

“It is our duty and our shared responsibility as an Arab group, and it is the duty of the international community” to support UNRWA’s efforts to provide humanitarian services to Palestinian refugees.”

His Majesty also spoke about the “proud” responsibility of the Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, saying: “We will persevere in upholding this responsibility, in coordination with our brothers at the Palestinian National Authority and with your support. And we will continue strengthening the resolve of Jerusalemites and counter any attempts to change the identity of the holy city, impose new facts on the ground, or change the historical and legal status quo.”

The King also spoke about the positive developments in Iraq and touched on the Syrian crisis, pointing out the fact that Jordan has supported all initiatives to ensure de-escalation on the ground and to pursue solutions involving all components of the Syrian people.

To conclude his remarks, King Abdullah formally handed over the presidency of the summit to King Salman of Saudi Arabia.