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GA/9543
8 February 1999

JORDAN PRIDES ITSELF IN GREAT LEGACY LEFT BEHIND BY KING HUSSEIN, REPRESENTATIVE OF JORDAN TELLS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

8 February 1999


Press Release
GA/9543


JORDAN PRIDES ITSELF IN GREAT LEGACY LEFT BEHIND BY KING HUSSEIN, REPRESENTATIVE OF JORDAN TELLS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

19990208 Assembly Holds Special Meeting To Pay Tribute to Memory of King Hussein

Jordan prided itself in the great legacy left behind by King Hussein and his death would leave a great void in the region, especially in the area of peace and peace-building, the representative of Jordan said this afternoon as the General Assembly held a special meeting to pay tribute to the memory of King Hussein Ibn Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The meeting was held during the Assembly's tenth emergency special session on illegal Israeli action in occupied Palestinian territory.

Under King Hussein's successor, King Abdullah, the country would continue its role in the region, pursue its policies and respect its international and legal commitments in exactly the same manner, he added. Jordan would work on protecting and promoting democratic structures and modernizing the country, while promoting an economy that functioned on a scientific and effective basis.

The world had lost a sincere and devoted leader who had devoted his life in its entirety to establishing the pillars of development, security and peace, said the representative of the United Arab Emirates, on behalf of the Group of Arab States. His insight would help foster a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. The Arab States Group, emphasizing their support to him, wished King Abdullah every success in completing the humanitarian march begun by his father.

The representative of Guatemala, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States Group, said King Hussein had been a charismatic leader, an extraordinarily courageous personality, a genuine visionary and an apostle of peace. He had been firm in his principles and convictions, which had guided him at all times. In a region shaken by tensions and conflicts, King Hussein had been able to create stability in his own country.

The people of Israel and the people of Jordan were bonded by a common grief and the knowledge that a man of courage was gone, said the

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representative of Israel. The Middle East was known for great monuments to people and religions. King Hussein had built the most important monument of all -- a monument for peace. Israel would do everything possible to continue his legacy of peace in the region. Solidarity and partnership between the two countries would continue for generations to come.

The representative of Canada, on behalf of the Western European and Other States Group, said the United Nations Charter could have had no stronger champion of its ideals than King Hussein. In his accomplishments, the Organization had no greater evidence that its ideals could triumph "over our worst tendencies". Sadly the King's work was not complete. But in a region still unreconciled, it was a tribute that today in Amman his death had joined often tense adversaries in mourning the tragedy of his loss.

The President of the General Assembly, Didier Opertti (Uruguay), said the world had lost a man of virtue with the death of King Hussein. Throughout his life, he had made a tremendous contribution to his country and to the cause of peace in his region. He remained the guiding spirit of those forces moving towards stability in the region. As a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, he had been admired as an ardent defender of the faith as well as the unification of the modern State of Jordan. King Hussein would inspire people throughout the world to stay on the road to peace and to never give up on the achievement of that goal.

Statements were also made by the representatives of: Togo (on behalf of the Group of African States), the Philippines (on behalf of the Group of Asian States), Slovenia (on behalf of the Group of Eastern European States), United States, Egypt and the Russian Federation. The Observer for Palestine also made a statement.

The Assembly will meet again at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 9 February, to continue its tenth emergency special session.

Assembly Work Programme

The Assembly met this afternoon to continue its tenth emergency special session -- which is considering "illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian Territory" -- to pay tribute to the memory of King Hussein Ibn Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Statements

DIDIER OPERTTI (Uruguay), President of the General Assembly, said the world had lost a man of virtue with the death of King Hussein. Throughout his life, King Hussein had made a tremendous contribution to his country and to the cause of peace in his region. Since assuming the throne more than 40 years ago, he had devoted himself to the cause of peace, and had remained the moving, guiding spirit of the forces moving towards stability in the region.

As a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, King Hussein had been admired as an ardent defender of the faith, as well as the unification of the modern State of Jordan. The world would miss his untiring ability as a diplomat and leader. He would be remembered as one who had helped bring about the actualization of the United Nations as well as an inspiration for future generations. King Hussein would inspire people throughout the world to stay on the road to peace and to never give up on the achievement of that goal.

ROLAND YAO KPOTSRA (Togo), speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, said that although the long illness of King Hussein and his sudden return to the Mayo Clinic had prepared everyone for the worst, his death had come as a shock to all. He would be remembered for his decisive, commendable role in the Middle East and in building the Jordanian Kingdom. He had been a fervent architect of peace, who had distinguished himself as a promoter of dialogue and cooperation, despite an environment that had not been conducive to that. King Hussein would be remembered for his extraordinary spirit of tolerance.

He expressed his profound condolences to the Hashemite royal family, the Government and people of Jordan. He hoped that the King's work would live after him, and that his spirit would inspire all those active in international relations. Also, he hoped that today's communion following the King's funeral would work to advance peace in the Middle East.

FELIPE H. MABILANGAN (Philippines), speaking on behalf of the Group of Asian States, said he wanted to express his respect and admiration for King Hussein, whose political life, almost as long as that of the Organization, had been filled with challenges and dangers that had been overcome. The King had transcended hatred and intolerance, had ignored the threat of death and, most

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recently, had overcome his own pain, all for the cause of peace. Even under the most trying times and the most difficult of circumstances, he had given hope, and in the critical points in the Middle East peace process, had renewed faith in abiding peace. He had been a King, but had always been one with his people.

He wished to offer support for King Abdullah as he took on the challenge of pursuing peace in the Middle East -- a task laden with difficulties. King Hussein had built a strong foundation for Jordan's leadership in that process and King Abdullah would build on and even strengthen that foundation. King Hussein had been a key force in the Middle East peace process; through his efforts, he had brought peace closer to reality.

DANILO TURK (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Eastern European States, said the entire world was joining Jordan in its grief today. The passing away of King Hussein left all with a profound sense of loss and bereavement, since he had been a truly wise leader, a visionary and a human being of great compassion and common sense. King Hussein had demonstrated his great skill and responsibility and had made Jordan a pillar of peace. His efforts in the Middle East peace process had ensured his place among the great political leaders and persons of peace "in our time". King Hussein had gone beyond the role of just a political leader in the Middle East.

He wished to pay tribute to the King and to express his Group's solidarity with the people of Jordan who, in their moment of grief, were not alone. The memory of King Hussein would be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for all those striving for peace in the United Nations.

GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States Group, said it was noteworthy how the persona of King Hussein had been cast to the whole world -- a charismatic leader, a man of good, an extraordinarily courageous personality, a genuine visionary and an apostle of peace. He had been firm in his principles and convictions, which had guided him at all times. In a region shaken by tensions and conflicts, King Hussein had been able to create stability in his own country. He had given Jordan a singularly important presence in the gathering of nations and had also provided a level of welfare to his population, well beyond that which the natural resources of his country would have permitted.

He said King Hussein had established a permanent rapport with all the citizens of his Kingdom, while at the same time maintaining a persistent dialogue with the most influential men and women of the globe. "It is tragic that the world loses a personality of the stature of King Hussein, given his relative youth", he said. The sorrow provoked by his passing away was not only reflected in the number and level of personalities participating in today's funeral, but in the impact the King had on the common citizen, "even

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in our region, so far removed from the Middle East". He was hoped that the immense legacy left by King Hussein would help to give new impetus to the efforts designed to find, after so many years, a genuine and lasting peace for that part of the world in which he had lived.

ROBERT FOWLER (Canada), speaking on behalf of the Western Europe and Other States Group, said Jordan had lost a brilliant and charismatic leader. King Hussein's troubled region was bereft of a vitally important force of reason, measure and stability. "We have all lost a steadfast warrior for peace", he stated. On the diplomatic front, King Hussein's impossibly complex calculations had always been informed by the long view. His prodigious and comprehensive understanding of his region had helped to secure peace and hope for his people. King Hussein's signing of a peace treaty with Israel and his essential role in peace agreements between Palestinians and Israelis, even while battling for his life at Wye River, would mark the King as one of the truly heroic leaders of this century.

He said that the United Nations Charter could have had no stronger champion of its ideals then in the person of King Hussein. In his accomplishments, the Organization had no greater evidence that its ideals could triumph "over our worst tendencies". Sadly, the King's work was not complete; however, in a region still unreconciled, it was a tribute that today in Amman, Jordan, his death had joined often tense adversaries in mourning the tragedy of his loss.

MOHAMMAD J. SAMHAN (United Arab Emirates), speaking on behalf of the Arab States Group, expressed his deep grief to the Hashemite family, Government and people of Jordan. He implored Allah to cover King Hussein with mercy, he let his soul rest in peace and bestow consolation and peace over his people and family. The King's life had been linked with the struggle, that had been recorded by contemporary history. He had left his imprint on just causes, especially on the question of Palestine and peace in the Middle East. His loss was tremendous, not only to Arab and Islamic nations, but to the whole world.

King Hussein deserved the prestigious status which he had in the Arab and international arena, and had been one of the most prominent leaders of the twentieth century, he said. The world had lost a sincere and devoted leader, who had devoted his life in its entirety to establishing the pillars of development, security and peace. His insight and regional and international balance would help foster a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. The Arab Group, emphasizing their support to him, wished King Abdullah every success in completing the humanitarian march begun by his father.

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PETER BURLEIGH (United States) offered sincere condolences on the passing of King Hussein. In the days to come, the United States would stand by Jordan's new leader, King Abdullah, and would remain committed to the people of Jordan in mutual efforts to bring greater prosperity to Jordan, and lasting peace and stability to the Middle East. King Hussein had been a pioneer aware that it was not enough for Israel and Jordan to sign treaties -- more importantly, they had to learn to work together. To that end, he had bravely hosted 1995's critical Amman Economic Summit to encourage Arabs and Israelis to forge a joint economic future.

He added that King Hussein had said during negotiations at Wye River last year that "we have no right to dictate, through irresponsible action or narrow-mindedness, the future of our children and our children's children". Those sentiments should guide the world in its search for peace. King Hussein had said recently in a press interview that he wanted to be remembered "as someone who tried his best, who was proud of being of the people and for them, who suffered their suffering, who loved and supported them and supported whatever was right, including peace". That was indeed how the whole world would remember King Hussein.

DORE GOLD (Israel) said the people of Israel and the people of Jordan were bonded by a common grief and the knowledge that a man of courage was gone. King Hussein had set an example by his actions and commitment to peace, and had believed that peace meant total reconciliation. King Hussein had demonstrated how trust for leaders could be continued and transferred to trust between peoples. The trust between Israel and Jordan would be protected for generations to come, and it held lessons for Arab-Israeli relations, as well as for the entire world. The Middle East was known for great monuments to people and religions. King Hussein had built the most important monument of all -- a monument for peace. Israel would do everything possible to continue his legacy in the region. Solidarity and partnership between the two countries would continue for generations to come.

NABIL ELARABY (Egypt) said that yesterday, Jordan, and the Arab and Islamic world had lost an important pillar of peace with the passing of King Hussein. The world had lost an enlightened leader, one characterized by wisdom and courage. He had dedicated his life to the prosperity of the Jordanian people, and had been a leader who had sacrificed everything at hand for lofty principles. He had also been a leader who had left a vast reservoir of accomplishments. With a sense of sadness, he expressed his deepest condolences to his brethren in the Hashemite Kingdom. With supplication, he implored Allah to engulf King Hussein with his mercy.

SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that he was profoundly grieved at the passing of King Hussein, and shared in the loss with King Abdullah, the royal family, and people of Jordan. President Boris Yeltsin had

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visited Amman to personally express his grief to the Jordanian people. King Hussein had been a great leader who had played a crucial role in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Thanks to his persistence, a foundation had been established, which would enable Jordan to look forward to a bright future. The best tribute that could be paid to the King would be the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

M. NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, said "we must praise the exceptional qualities of a King who was a visionary, and a noble and courageous servant of the Arab people". King Hussein had been a fervent architect of peace and had guided many along the avenues of peace while earning the admiration and respect of all those who sought that process in the world. This clairvoyant and tolerant visionary monarch would be sorely missed. He hoped that under the leadership of the new King Abdullah, the principles of the late King Hussein would be upheld. He expressed his sincere condolences to all "brothers and sisters" in Jordan and assured them that the Palestinians would remain at their side in servicing their noble cause.

HASAN ABU-NIMAH (Jordan) said he could not find the words to express the deep sorrow and profound pain felt in the face of the enormous loss and tragedy suffered with the death of King Hussein. He had been a father to all Jordanians. The outpouring of sentiments in this meeting and elsewhere were all good solace for Jordanians as they bore the impact of the tragedy. His country prided itself in the great legacy left behind by King Hussein. That would help to turn sorrow into a positive impetus. However, there was a still a long way to go to achieve the goals set out by the late King.

He said the King's death would leave a great void in the region, especially in the area of peace and peace-building. Although the loss was immeasurable, the King had also built a modern Jordan. Under King Abdullah, the country would continue its role in the region, pursue its policies and respect its international and legal commitments in exactly the same manner as the late King Hussein. Jordan would work on protecting and promoting democratic structures and modernizing the country, while promoting an economy that functioned on an effective and scientific basis.

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For information media. Not an official record.