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Jordan
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 Tuesday’s attacks began. He’s 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: I’m 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 of Tuesday?

KING ABDULLAH: Well, I believe it’s 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 there’s even more emphasis in our part of the world, at least in the conflicts that we’re facing, to try and get a solution to them as quickly as possible.

GUMBEL: Do you think Tuesday’s attacks were in any way precipitated by the Bush Administration’s disengagement from Mideast Peace efforts?

KING ABDULLAH: Not at all: I’ve believe that as long as you have unresolved issues in the Middle East, especially the core issue between the Palestinians and Israelis, you’re obviously going to give terrorists and extremists the upper hand. And so it’s 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 don’t think so, because if you had solved the issues, there’d 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 don’t 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 he’ll 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. There’s more Jordanian diplomats that have suffered and have been assassinated than Israeli diplomats over the past several decades, so we know what it’s 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 telling you?

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 it’s still early to do so until all the facts are in. But I’m sure that you’ll 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 who’s 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 can’t 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 that’s 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 it’s 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.

KING ABDULLAH: not at all, sir. Thank you

END