King Abdullah II
Interview with Bryant Gumbel on CBS
September 13, 2001
BRYANT GUMBEL: King Abdullah of Jordan was actually in the air, on his plane
flying to the United States when Tuesdays attacks began. Hes now
back in Jordan at the presidential palace in Amman.
Your Royal highness, Good morning.
HIS MAJESTY, KING ABDULLAH BIN HUSSEIN: Good Morning, Sir. How are you?
GUMBEL: Im fine, thank you.
You were on your way here to press President Bush to take a more active role
in Mideast peacekeeping efforts. Is that task now harder or easier as a result
KING ABDULLAH: Well, I believe its more imperative that we move in
that direction now. Obviously, the tragic incidents that occurred in the United
States several days ago, I think has changed the rules of the game. And I
think theres even more emphasis in our part of the world, at least in
the conflicts that were facing, to try and get a solution to them as
quickly as possible.
GUMBEL: Do you think Tuesdays attacks were in any way precipitated
by the Bush Administrations disengagement from Mideast Peace efforts?
KING ABDULLAH: Not at all: Ive believe that as long as you have unresolved
issues in the Middle East, especially the core issue between the Palestinians
and Israelis, youre obviously going to give terrorists and extremists
the upper hand. And so its an ongoing process that we have to Solve.
And when we do solve it. Obviously we take the wind out of their sails, so
to speak. And therefore, I think we need to move as quickly as possible to
resolve the issues of this area.
GUMBEL: with an eye to that core issue, is it true, as it has been reported,
that you believe theses attacks would not have happened if a Mideast peace
agreement were in place?
KING ABDULLAH: No, that was in answer to a question that had there been peace
in the Middle East, would that particular attack have happened in that scale.
I personally dont think so, because if you had solved the issues, thered
be very little platforms for extremists to try and rally support, funding
and training to be carry out such activities.
GUMBEL: But Your Majesty, is it reasonable to think that any agreement with
Israel would have satisfied those who perpetrated these kinds of attacks?
KING ABDULLAH: I think if we had peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,
obviously there would continue to be attacks against the west and against
democracies and freedoms all over the world. But I believe that you would
never have been a crisis of this magnitude, simply because extremists would
have had very little platforms to be able to discuss or to try and push terrorism
to that extreme.
GUMBEL: As you know, President Bush has promised to respond to these attacks
with full force. As we sit here this morning, how concerned are you about
what the U.S. might yet do?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, I dont think there is concern. Obviously, all
of us are shocked and stunned all over the world by the strategy of the magnitude
of it. And I believe this is the opportunity for the international community
once and for all to come together in full strength to put a stop to international
terrorism and those that support it.
GUMBEL: But are you concerned about how the Bush administration might retaliate?
KING ABDULLAH: NO, I Believe the Americans will study the facts, will identify
those responsible and will come up with an appropriate plan to deal with it.
As you know, you have full support from the United Nations, from NATO. And
I believe the international community will stand by fully what America decides
to do in the next coming weeks.
GUMBEL: the President has said hell make no distinction between those
who perpetrated the attacks and those who harbor such individuals. Does that
concern you at all?
KING ABDULLAH: Not at all, Because we in Jordan have been on the receiving
end of terrorism for many decades. Theres more Jordanian diplomats that
have suffered and have been assassinated than Israeli diplomats over the past
several decades, so we know what its like to be in the trenches in combating
international terrorism. And I believe that it is high time that the world
really comes together and puts a stop to this phenomenon once and for all.
GUMBEL: U.S. authorities here seem inclined to believe that Osama bin Laden
is the force behind this: What are your intelligence people therein Amman
KING ABDULLAH: Well, again, the facts are unfolding at this stage. As with
the Americans, we and the Americans have not fully confirmed that it is Osama
bin Laden. I think its still early to do so until all the facts are
in. But Im sure that youll get a concurrence between Jordanian
intelligence estimates and American in the very near future.
GUMBEL: as you noted, Your Highness, your country, your family has known
tragedy and known terror for sometime. As one whos been through it,
what can you say to Americans at this time to help them put this behind them?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, as difficult as this situation is and as damaging as
it is and hurtful it is to American citizens, you cant let them get
the upper hand. As difficult as this sounds, you have to pick yourself up
and continue with lives as normal and to be to get the resolve to put a stop
to international terrorism. And again, I want to point out that this not specific
to any a nationality or religion. It is an international phenomenon thats
been going on for several decades. But I think because of the exposure of
these dramatic events over the past couple of days, people say war has been
declared. This war has been going on for a long, long time. And I think its
just taken a new phase and one that the international community has to exert
more effort to put a stop to.
GUMBEL: King Abdullah II of Jordan. Your Royal Highness, I thank you very
much, sir. Appreciate it.