Jordanian King Reaffirms Commitment to Terror
By Donna Miles
6, 2004 — Jordanian King Abdullah II vowed in a joint press
conference with President Bush to continue working together to rid
the Middle East of terrorism and other threats to safety, freedom,
and prosperity in the region.
President George W. Bush (R) shakes hands with Jordan’s
King Abdullah II (L) in the Rose Garden of the White House
in Washington, DC. Bush and Abdullah held private talks
in the Oval Office prior to speaking to the media in the
Jaffe / AFP
fall of Saddam Hussein removed a source of instability and intimidation
from the heart of the Middle East," Bush told reporters during
a joint White House news conference. "All of Iraq’s neighbors,
including Jordan, are safer now."
Bush said the emergence of a peaceful, prosperous
and free Iraq will contribute to Jordan’s security and prosperity.
"Lasting prosperity requires lasting security and peace in
the region," he said.
Abdullah told the president that Jordan "stands
shoulder to shoulder with the United States and the international
community in our common fight against terrorism."
"We cannot allow the terrorists’ political
agenda to succeed," the king continued. "And we assure
you that Jordan will continue to do its utmost to help win this
Abdullah pointed out that his country’s proximity
to Iraq makes it unfeasible for Jordan to send troops to Iraq
now. But he said "Jordan is committed to support Iraqis in
their quest to regain their sovereignty, rebuild their institutions
and establish a society based on freedom and democracy."
Bush thanked Abdullah for insights he offered
during the two leaders’ meeting today. "He’s in the neighborhood.
He hears from people. He’s constantly aware of what’s going on
on the ground. And his advice has been very good," the president
The king offered
two valuable pieces of advice, Bush said: Ensure that Sunni Iraqis
have a bright future in the new Iraq, and be sure to distinguish
between those Iraqis whose ties have no place in the new Iraq
and the many, many Iraqis who are honorable citizens and can be
valuable partners in ensuring their country emerges as a free,
by President Bush and His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan in a Press Availability
BUSH: Your Majesty, welcome once again to the White House. I appreciate
your friendship, and I appreciate the opportunity to hear your
thoughts on a range of issues that face your country, and mine,
at this time of challenge and opportunity in the Middle East.
relationship between our two countries has never been stronger.
We continue to increase the ties of trade and investment, creating
new opportunities for both our people. The free trade agreement
between Jordan and the United States is a model for the region,
as my government works to build a Middle East free trade agreement.
States is committed to helping Jordan along the path to prosperity
through our strong support of the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund. And we’re proud to support Jordan through our support
for Jordan’s social and economic transformation program.
and his team are reform-minded individuals who care deeply about
the citizens of the Kingdom of Jordan. We spent quite a deal of
time — quite a bit of time talking about lasting prosperity in
Jordan, and our desire to help Jordan achieve lasting prosperity.
We also know that lasting prosperity requires lasting security
and peace in the region. Our two countries are working closely
to ensure that the Middle East becomes safer and more prosperous
and more free.
The fall of
Saddam Hussein removed a source of instability and intimidation
from the heart of the Middle East. All of Iraq’s neighbors, including
Jordan, are safer now. And the emergence of a peaceful, prosperous,
and free Iraq will contribute to Jordan’s security and prosperity.
States strongly supports the efforts of U.N. Security General’s
Special Advisor Brahimi to work with Iraqis to develop and interim
government. His Majesty and I talked about the fact that on June
30th, a sovereign Iraqi government will take office. Our coalition
partners will continue to work with the United Nations to prepare
for nationwide elections that will choose a new government in
January of 2005.
the United States share a vision for a free, stable, and prosperous
Middle East. Under the King’s leadership, Jordan has become a
force for reform and positive change in the region. This month,
Jordan will be hosting a meeting of the World Economic Forum,
another important milestone on the Middle East journey to greater
openness and opportunity and liberty. Next June, G8 nations will
discuss ways that we can support reform in the Middle East.
We will look
to the results of your World Economic Forum, Your Majesty, as
a guide for future actions.
and I also discussed our ongoing quest for a just and durable
peace between Israel and Palestine. I commend the King’s personal
commitment to peace and justice for all parties. I remain committed
to the vision I laid out here in the Rose Garden on June 24, 2002,
of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace
and security, and to the establishment of a Palestinian state
that is viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent.
the plan announced by Prime Minister Sharon to withdraw settlements
from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. This bold plan can make
a real contribution to peace, particularly if reform-minded Palestinians
will step forward and lead toward the establishment of a peaceful
As I have
previously stated, all final status issues must be negotiated
between the parties in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolutions
242 and 338. And the United States will not prejudice the outcome
of those negotiations. The road map is the — is the best path
to realizing the two-state vision. That is why the road map is
the plan endorsed by the Palestinians, Israel, the United Nations,
the European Union, Russia, the United States and many other nations.
That’s why my administration is committed to making it a reality.
King had some suggestions about how to — how to explain our position
to the Palestinians.
And I appreciated
your advice, Your Majesty.
that I make sure the Palestinians understand my desire for a just
peace, my desire for there to be a prosperous country, my desire
that the Palestinian people have a chance to realize their hopes
I told His
Majesty I will shortly send Mr. Qureia, the Palestinian Prime
Minister, a letter that will explain my views. And we will expand
dialogue between the United States and Palestinians.
I want to
appreciate your wise counsel, Your Majesty.
We also talked
about what has been on the TV screens recently, not only in our
own country, but overseas — the images of cruelty and humiliation.
I told His Majesty as plainly as I could that the wrongdoers will
be brought to justice, and that the actions of those folks in
Iraq do not represent the values of the United States of America.
I told him
I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners,
and the humiliation suffered by their families. I told him I was
equally sorry that people who have been seeing those pictures
didn’t understand the true nature and heart of America. I assured
him Americans, like me, didn’t appreciate what we saw, that it
made us sick to our stomachs. I also made it clear to His Majesty
that the troops we have in Iraq, who are there for security and
peace and freedom, are the finest of the fine, fantastic United
States citizens, who represent the very best qualities of America:
courage, love of freedom, compassion, and decency.
I’m proud you’re here. I appreciate you coming. Jordan is a friend
of the United States, and friends look out for one another. I
understand your country and your people have important interests
at stake in the Middle East; your country has important interests
at stake when it comes to a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement;
you’ve got important interests in the emergence of a new Iraq.
I assure you my government views Jordan’s security and prosperity
and territorial integrity as vital. We will oppose any developments
in the region that might endanger your interests.
I look forward
to working closely with you to achieve peace and freedom. We’ll
work with you to assist you in your historic efforts to lead Jordan
to greater peace and freedom and prosperity.
KING ABDULLAH: Mr. President, thank you for this opportunity to
meet with you today and discuss vital issues of mutual interest
to both our countries.
I remain very
concerned about the critical phase our region is passing through.
It is very important for the moderate voices seeking peace in
our region to prevail, so that we can break out of the cycle of
violence which has held us back for too long, and put the region
on the new path to stability and prosperity.
I’d like to
outline the Jordanian position on the peace process, particularly
the view of recent developments. We feel that any unilateral Israeli
withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank should be part of the road
map, and should lead to the achievement of your vision of a two-state
Let me stress
that a viable, sovereign, and independent Palestinian state on
the basis of the 1967 borders is also in Jordan’s national interest.
Failing to achieve such an outcome would invoke other options,
all of which will endanger my country’s interests and that of
the region. This is one of the reasons why Jordan insists on a
two-state solution, and why it supports the road map as the mechanism
to get there.
committed to a final and comprehensive permanent status agreement
based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principles
of land for peace, U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338,
and 1397 — agreements reached by the parties and the Arab initiative
endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit.
believes all final status issues, including borders, refugees,
Jerusalem, and settlements, should be a matter for the parties
to decide. I am encouraged by what I’ve heard from you today,
sir, that these issues are not to be prejudiced, and should be
mutually agreed by the parties. In the context of the road map,
I want to assure you, Mr. President, that Jordan is ready to do
its part in assisting the Palestinian Authority to rebuild its
capability and assume full control of the security situation.
shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States and the international
community in our common fight against terrorism. We cannot allow
the terrorists’ political agenda to succeed. And we assure you
that Jordan will continue to do its utmost to help win this cause.
committed to support Iraqis in their quest to regain their sovereignty,
rebuild their institutions, and establish a society based on freedom
and democracy. The stability, unity, and territorial integrity
of Iraq is an objective we both share, and we are determined to
also committed to a process of political and economic reform in
the region. We have adopted a far-reaching plan that addresses
the key areas of good governance, political freedoms, women’s
rights, judicial reform, economic reform, educational reform,
and the liberalization of the economy. We also are strongly committed
to a key role by civil society. Our aim is to move towards a system
that respects diversity and guarantees pluralism at all times,
so that democracy is not used by any who might opt to subject
to it once, and then deny it to others.
the leadership of the United States is crucial in all our efforts
to reach a just and lasting peace of the Middle East. I want to
thank you again for the opportunity, and I am determined to work
with you to achieve this goal in a timely manner.
BUSH: Thank you, Your Majesty.
a couple of questions apiece per side. Scott.
Q Thank you,
Mr. President. Senator Harkins said today that for the good of
the country, the safety of our troops, our image around the globe,
Secretary Rumsfeld should resign. If he doesn’t resign, the President
should fire him. We know you weren’t happy with him yesterday.
Should he keep his job?
And for Your
Majesty, how much damage did these images do in your country?
BUSH: Secretary Rumsfeld is a really good Secretary of Defense.
Secretary Rumsfeld has served our nation well. Secretary Rumsfeld
has been the Secretary during two wars. And he is — he’s an important
part of my Cabinet, and he’ll stay in my Cabinet.
KING ABDULLAH: Thank you. Mr. President, I think — the reaction
in Jordan, as well as the reaction here in the United States was
the same. I think we’re all horrified by the images. But as has
been clearly explained here in Washington, that an immediate investigation
has been asked for to bring the people who perpetrated these heinous
crimes to justice. And we hope that that will happen very quickly,
and that it doesn’t reflect on the morals, the values that the
United States stands for.
I am quite
convinced that once the investigation is underway, those that
were guilty of these crimes will be brought to justice.
Q Your Majesty,
are you optimistic in regard to the movement of the road map?
And for you,
President, in light of your discussion today with His Majesty,
do you see U.S. involving itself soon in the actual implementation
of the road map?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, I am very encouraged by what I’ve always
seen as a dedicated position from the President of the United
States. He was the first President to articulate a viable, independent
Palestinian state, and created a mechanism, the road map, to be
able to achieve that. Our meetings today reaffirmed the American
position as it always has been, and I think that definitely we
are reassured in Jordan and we hope that the President’s statements
will reassure everybody else in the Middle East.
BUSH: Yes, we support the road map. As a matter of fact, the Secretary
of State was recently meeting with the Quartet, which is an integral
part of the road map. Here’s what I believe has to happen. The
world must recognize the possibility of a Palestinian state. I
mean, the development of a Palestinian state is — that’s free
and democratic — and by the way, democracy doesn’t have to look
like America or Europe, it’s got to be attuned to the cultures
and to the Palestinian people. It’s what they want. But nevertheless,
development of a state that’s free and peaceful will change the
dynamic of the Middle East.
I mean, the
Palestinians are people who need hope — hope for a better life,
hope to be able to make a living, hope to raise their families
in a peaceful situation. That’s what they want. And the best opportunity
for that to happen is for there to be a state that emerges that
provides the framework for a peaceful coexistence in the Middle
East. And that requires not only the United States being involved,
and the European to be involved, and Russia and the United Nations
to be involved, it requires that reform-minded Palestinians step
up and work with the world to develop the institutions necessary
for a state to evolve. That’s what has to happen. That’s road
map. In other words, that’s how you head down the road to peace.
And as a peaceful
Palestinian state grows, one that earns the confidence of not
only His Majesty, or the United States, or other countries in
the world, the final status issues become easier to solve. And
so what we must do now is take advantage of an opportunity to
begin the process of the development of a Palestinian state. And
that’s where the world must focus. And I believe we can achieve
that. And I believe that by achieving it, it will be a very hopeful
moment for people. And it’s possible; it just takes vision and
Q Mr. President,
if this problem at the prisons was first noticed late last year,
why has it taken this long for actions to be taken? And what did
you tell Secretary Rumsfeld yesterday?
BUSH: I tell him I should have known about the pictures and the
report. And as I understand it, the — General Kimmitt declared
to the press corps, in Iraq I believe it was, that there was an
ongoing investigation. In other words, he made it clear. The Army
said, we’ve discovered something, we’ve discovered an issue, and,
therefore, we’re now going to investigate it. It was a declaration
to — to the world that there was an issue, and then there is
But part of
what this ongoing investigation will do, will answer that question,
answer your questions, so we better understand the process, the
procedures, and more importantly, to make sure that it doesn’t
happen again. So as I told His Majesty, I said, we will — people
will be brought to justice in a way commensurate with how our
We also want
to make sure there’s not a larger problem. And that’s what the
Secretary has assured me will happen. In other words, we will
take a good, full look at a variety of issues to make sure it
The acts were
abhorrent, Steve. They sickened my stomach. I know they sickened
yours, too. You’re a decent American. Any decent soul doesn’t
want a human being treated that way. And it is — it’s a stain
on our country’s honor and our country’s reputation. I full understand
that. And that’s why it’s important that justice be done.
But it’s also
important for people — and I explained this to His Majesty, and
I think he understands this — that the actions of the people
in that prison do not reflect the nature of the men and women
who wear our uniform. We’ve got brave souls in Iraq, sacrificing
so that somebody can be free. And helping that — the Iraqi citizens
be free, it helps America be more secure. There are thousands
of acts of kindness and decency taking place every day in Iraq,
because our soldiers, our men and women in uniform, are honorable,
decent, loving people.
find out the truth. We’ll take a good look at the whole system
to determine — to make sure this doesn’t happen again. But I
am — I am — I am sickened by what I saw, and sickened that somebody
gets the wrong impression of people who are serving this country
and this world with such dignity.
One more question.
Q Your Majesty?
BUSH: Wait, you’re not a Jordanian.
KING ABDULLAH: We already asked a question.
BUSH: You want to call on an American? That’s very noble of you,
Your Majesty. (Laughter.) Very thoughtful.
Q Mr. President,
are you asking Arab nations to send troops to Iraq?
Majesty, would you send Jordanian troops to Iraq?
BUSH: I’ve never asked a nation to do that which they aren’t comfortable
doing. Jordan has been a loyal friend. They’ve contributed in
so many ways to peace and stability. We did discuss Afghanistan,
but we have not discussed sending troops to Iraq.
you, His Majesty has got good advice, though, about Iraq. He’s
in the neighborhood, he hears from people, he’s constantly aware
of what’s going on on the ground, and his advice has been very
good. And part of the advice is to make sure that Sunni Iraqis
have got a bright future. In other words, people aren’t going
to be buying into the transfer of sovereignty if they don’t think
tomorrow is going to be a better day. And he gave me very good
advice about making sure that there’s a distinction between those
who are violent, those who are corrupt, those who are — would
not serve a new country well, and the thousands who will, the
honorable citizens, working together to make sure Iraq emerges
as a free, contiguous country.
And I told
His Majesty — I think he gets the sense from me — we have an
historic opportunity to begin to change a part of the world that
needs to be changed in some areas. And here is a chance to take
what was a threat and a destabilizing force, and convert it into
a force for good and reform and hope.
And I appreciate
your vision and your understanding of that, Your Majesty.
KING ABDULLAH: I think that we in Jordan are too close, as other
countries to Iraq are also, to send troops. I think it would be
very difficult for Jordanians to be objective in committing troops
to Iraq. We do have a long history of U.N. peacekeeping operations
all over the world, but at this stage, I think the politics of
the issue does not make sense for Jordanians to send troops at
BUSH: Thank you, Your Majesty. Good job. Good job.
END 2:25 P.M.