King Abdullah II
Interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer
September 12, 2001

DIANE SAWYER:…And I believe if we have our satellite working, we have with us now his majesty King Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Let me see if we can get the picture up.

Your Majesty, thank you for joining us this morning.


SAWYER: I want to turn the question I was just raising with Tedd Koppel: We did watch in this country those scenes of celebration by Palestinians in various places in the Middle East. How are Americans to react, except with horror and anger?

KING ABDULLAH: Well, Ma’am, I believe that we were equally horrified by what we saw on the television in the past several hours. But, again, I sincerely believe that those that were demonstrating or celebrating are a very, very select few individuals that are really no reflection on the Palestinian people and the rest of the Arab world. And obviously, anybody who condones violence or sees joy on seeing innocent people being hurt and maimed or killed, there must be something terribly wrong with them. But there is definitely not a reflection of other people of the Middle East. And it completely defies the principles of the three monolithic religions, including Islam.

SAWYER: Your Majesty, I’d also like to ask you about what Secretary of State Colin Powell said to us this morning, that, yes there will be a brand new kind of response now to what has happened. But he said key to it is the reaction of the moderate Arabic states in the Middle East, and that, of course, means Jordan. If the United States decides to retaliate in Afghanistan, on the Taliban, who are the harborers of Osama bin Laden, not just Osama bin Laden, will you support that action?

KING ABDULLAH: Well. I think the question is that for many years now there’s been a call by the international community to work closer together to combat terrorism.

And I don’t think we’ve been as efficient as we should have been. As awful as the events were yesterday, I’m sure that after the Americans deliberate and look at the possibilities that they have ahead of them to be able to punish those that were responsible for the crimes, I think the United States and the international community will come together, once and for all, to try and rid the world of this menace.

CHARLES GIBSON: But there is an angry nation here in the United States. And I do wonder….

KING ABDULLAH: Absolutely.

GIBSON: … what is going to happen with moderate Arab States, your country, Your Majesty, Egypt, if there is U.S. military retaliation.

SAWYER: So would you assist military action?

KING ABDULLAH: Well, Jordan is a very small country. I presume that the Americans are far more capable of being able to take their objectives themselves. But there is an international network of intelligence organizations that work together to combat terrorism, and Jordan has been a great provider of being ale to work within that system.

GIBSON: Your Majesty, just before we let you go, just on practical note you were on your way to United States yesterday, right, when this occurred and your plane had to turn back.

KING ABDULLAH: Yes. We were halfway over the Atlantic when we heard the terrible news. Part of me wanted to continue to the United States to send moral support to the American people. But we understood that obviously the government and the federal agencies would be so busy with sadness of what has taken place and really this tragic event. We join the international community in extending the sorrow and grief that we all feel towards the American people, in particular the families of the victims of the horrible, horrible travesty that we witnessed yesterday.

SAWYER: And understanding that, Your Majesty, when Americans talk about the fact that this war is war, when the U.S. government talks about the fact that this is war and a whole new level of terrorism, what would you say to the American people about what they should now expect from terrorists around the world? Is it a brand new era that you see beginning yesterday?

KING ABDULLAH: The fight between the international community and international terrorism has been going on for decades. And for the most part, we have to give credit to the international intelligence agencies for the tremendous work they’ve been doing. It’s a battle that goes on every single day. And we have to imagine that sooner or later the laws of averages are going to catch up with you and the terrorists are going to win. Now you have to pick yourself up, as difficult as that is, dust yourself off and take the fight back to them again. And we all have the moral resolve to make sure that we can rid our world of this menace, and you just have to be determined. We have to hunker down. And it’s going to be a lot more serious, about combating this phenomenon.

SAWYER: His Majesty, King Abdullah. Again, we’re so grateful to you for joining us this morning. Thank you very much.

SAWYER: and we should point out to everyone that, first of all, the Kingdom of Jordan does have a majority Palestinian Population. But throughout the years, we want to complicated situations, including the Gulf war.