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King Abdullah: "It is time to end to this suffering, and to lift the embargo on Iraq" (27 Mar 01)

"As for our brethren Iraq, its inconceivable suffering has gone on for far too long. It is time to 
end to this suffering, and to lift the embargo on Iraq."

For King Abdullah's complete address, see below.
Address to the Opening Session of the 13th Ordinary Session of the Arab League Conference   

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Universe. 
Prayers and Salutations be upon the faithful Arab Prophet Mohammed. Your Excellencies, Your 
Highnesses, Presidents, and Princes of Arab countries, Peace, Godís Mercy and Blessings be upon 
you. It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to Jordan, and to express, on behalf of the people 
of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, our pride in you, brothers and leaders who enjoy our full 
respect and appreciation. This is the third Arab summit that Jordan hosts and we are proud to have 
this privilege once again. It is also my pleasure to welcome Their Excellencies Mr. Kofi Annan, the 
secretary general of the United Nations, Mr. Abdelouhed Belkaziz, the secretary general of the 
Islamic Conference Organisation, and Mr. Salim Ahmed Salim, the secretary general of the African 
Unity Organisation. Jordan holds nothing dearer than its pride in belonging to the Arab Nation. It 
cherishes its commitment to serve Arab causes and to mobilise its resources towards building a 
future that befits the Nationís history and contributions to humanity and world civilisation. Your 
Excellencies, Your Highnesses, Most previous Arab summits were held to reach unified positions on 
issues that had necessitated their convening. Consequently, they were of a reactive nature, 
governed by special circumstances. They were not proactive summits predicated on a comprehensive 
vision and initiative. This summit, however, is held in implementation of the resolution of the 
Cairo Arab summit to convene on an annual basis. I recognise the important role His Excellency 
President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak played in the success of that summit. As such, this summit 
institutionalises a new approach to joint Arab action. This approach is based on a continuous 
process of coordination and consultation, regardless of passing differences and prevailing 
circumstances. It probably only meets the minimum aspirations and expectations of the Arab people 
who yearn for an efficient Arab Order. The Arab people seek solidarity and a framework of 
co-operation that can build on common denominators and areas of agreement, resolve contentious 
issues and give priority to common Arab interests. World developments present many challenges and 
have led to the emergence of economic blocs that seek to direct globalism to serve their interests. 
This requires us to work together. It makes it imperative that we become an integrated group 
capable of coping with these developments with confidence, awareness and greater ability. Your 
Excellencies, Your Highnesses, Our Nation has for decades, and particularly for the last ten years, 
suffered from differences and conflicts. It has suffered from the absence of Arab solidarity and 
regression in joint Arab action. Accordingly, others, both near and far, have dealt with us with 
disregard. This situation allowed the weak and the strong alike to deal with us from a position of 
strength. Arab citizens have thus become bitter and frustrated, with no confidence in themselves or 
in their future. It is time we turned that page and overcame our differences. It is time we opened 
a new page in joint Arab action with open hearts and clear consciences. This new chapter should 
reflect our brotherhood, sacred bonds and common interests. Our Nation is facing enormous 
challenges. We have to rise to those challenges and meet the expectations and aspirations of our 
people. The Palestinian people have been suffering tremendously for over half a century. They have 
struggled in defence of their rights and for their occupied land with all possible means. The blood 
of their martyrs has been spilt on every part of their dear land. Today, they are moving closer to 
realising their dream of liberating their land and regaining their legitimate rights. We have to 
stand by them. We have to provide them with every possible support and assistance that will enable 
them to regain their full rights and establish their independent state on their national soil, with 
Jerusalem as its capital. We also have to stand by our brethren in Syria in their quest to liberate 
all their occupied territories up to the borders that existed before June 4, 1967. We have to stand 
by our brethren in Lebanon to complete the liberation of their occupied lands, so that we can 
achieve the just, lasting and comprehensive peace which the peoples of the region seek. As for our 
brethren Iraq, its inconceivable suffering has gone on for far too long. It is time to end to this 
suffering, and to lift the embargo on Iraq. This Arab country has always been at the forefront of 
the Nation in defending its causes and rights. It has never failed to respond to the calls of duty, 
sacrifice and brotherhood. Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses, Global challenges and changes are 
difficult, if not impossible, for any of our countries to face alone. We are more homogeneous and 
closer than any other regional economic grouping. We certainly can work together to realise the 
aspirations of our people for unity and solidarity. Let this summit be the beginning of a new era 
in joint Arab action. Let it be a new launching ground towards solidarity and complimentarity in 
all fields; political, economic or relating to national security. From this moment on, let our work 
be institutional and comprehensive in vision; let it not be reactive or emotionally driven. In 
conclusion, I welcome you once again and wish you a happy stay in Jordan. I pray to Our Protector 
to direct us along the path that benefits our Nation, and to grant us success in this summit and in 
all our meetings. Peace, Godís Mercy and Blessings be upon you.

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