King Abdullah of Jordan gave an extensive interview to France 24’s Marc Perelman. France 24 is a state-owned news network that is wholly owned by the French government. The interview covered many complex foreign relations issues from the recent developments in Iraq to the refugee situation to the recent death of the Sultan of Oman.
Abdullah described the Sultan as an “icon” and spoke of the friendship between King Hussein and the late Sultan, observing that he inherited that friendship. Abdullah described the Sultan as “a neutral voice, a voice of reason and a leader that actually brought people together”. He ended the tribute by saying “I think the world will miss the ability that the Sultan had to bring nations together.”
In the interview, Abdullah stressed his desire for de-escalation in Iraq saying, “We can’t afford any instability in our part of the world. An instability in our part of the world affects Europe and the rest of the globe”. He also observed that in these conflicts “it’s the Iraqi people who have suffered, who have paid the price. They deserve stability; they deserve a movement to the future.” He feels that a lot of world leaders have a desire to “embrace the Iraqi people and give them the hope of stability and a future of their nation.”
Abdullah also reiterated his desire for a two-state solution to the conflicts between Israel and Palestine saying, “Jordan is strategically committed to the peace between Jordan and Israel.” He emphasised the importance of the two-state solution for the region at large. He observed that to get stability in the Middle East it is essential to have stability between Palestine and Israel.
The King also spoke of his frustrations with the lack of support for Jordan from Europe given all that Jordan is doing for Syrian refugees. He stated that there was a 20 per cent increase in population in Jordan because of the refugee crisis. Expressing his frustrations he said, “We are thankful there’s a lot of countries that do help us, but at the end of the day, the burden is on the Jordanians to put all these Syrians in school, to look after their health, housing. It has been a tremendous struggle for us to move, and we’re…being let down for doing the right thing. We are saving Europe tremendous amounts of pressure by looking after the refugees in our country.”
The full transcript of the interview can be seen on the Royal Hashemite Court’s website. King Abdullah has been in Europe the last few days to speak with leaders from many European countries about these and other foreign relations issues Jordan and the Middle East are facing.