Jordan’s king urges international defeat of jihadists
Abdullah II vows to protect Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian character, as well as sanctity of Al-Aqsa mosque
Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a key US ally in the fight against jihadists in Iraq and Syria, called Wednesday for a collective strategy to defeat militants who threaten global security.
“The terrorists and criminals targeting Syria, Iraq and other countries today are extreme reflections of a great global threat,” Abdullah told the 193-member UN General Assembly in New York.
“Our international community needs a collective strategy to contain and defeat these groups. My country is at the forefront of this effort.”
Jordan is one of five Arab countries to have taken part in US-led air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq.
Shortly before Abdullah’s speech, two US defense officials said Jordanian planes on Wednesday bombed IS on the second day of a US-led air campaign.
Abdullah called for a “strong outcome” at a UN Security Council meeting, to be chaired by US President Barack Obama and set to adopt a resolution stemming the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria.
Jordan would also submit a draft resolution to the United Nations that would consider “aberrant” crimes against religious communities in Iraq and Syria as crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, he said.
The Syrian war has put a huge burden on the small Hashemite kingdom of Jordan.
The country is sheltering nearly 1.4 million Syrians, making it the world’s third-largest host of refugees.
The king said the international response to the refugee crisis has not kept pace with need and demanded a “concerted effort” to get aid into Syria and to host countries such as Jordan.
“Those who say this is not our business are wrong. The security of every nation will be shaped by the fate of the Middle East,” he said.
“Together we can and must undertake urgent humanitarian and security measures, create durable solutions for today’s crises and provide new opportunities for dialogue, reconciliation, prosperity and peace,” he added.
Abdullah turned to the Palestinian issue to end his speech, calling it the region’s “central conflict.”
“A first, imperative step is to mobilize international efforts to rebuild Gaza,” he said. “As we do so, we must also marshal the united, global response needed to achieve a once-and-for-all, lasting settlement. Such action can create the environment necessary to re-launch final-status negotiations on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative”
Abdullah also intimated that Israel was threatening Jerusalem’s Arab Muslim and Christian identity, and the “Al Aqsa Mosque’s sanctity.”