Jordan to keep modernising, says King Abdullah II on silver jubilee

Monarch succeeded his late father, King Hussein, in 1999

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King Abdullah II of Jordan has pledged to continue a 25-year drive to modernise the country, in a speech to mark his silver jubilee.

“It is our collective responsibility to pursue comprehensive modernisation and unleash the potential of our economy,” the king told thousands who turned up at a military ceremony to mark 25 years since his ascension to the throne, on state grounds in the north of the capital, Amman, on Sunday.

Members of various branches of the security forces marched in front of the king, who was with Queen Rania, along with tanks and other military vehicles.

Musical groups performed patriotic songs.

The king succeeded his father, the late King Hussein, in 1999, as head of the Hashemite monarchy.

The main role of the monarchy has been maintaining the balance between the various ethnic and tribal groups in the country.

The population of Jordan has been augmented since the 1940s by mass arrivals of refugees and immigrants, mainly from Palestine but also Iraq, Syria and other countries.

The king said the people and the government should aim at “creating a Jordan where opportunities flourish and achievements abound”.

“Our Jordanian national identity has been and will remain a source of stability and strength, uniting us in the face of dangers,” he said.

Jordan was founded as a British protectorate in 1921. In the past decade, it was spared the upheaval that has marked the rest of the Arab Levant.

“We have united against extremists and troublemakers, surpassing regional chaos, making the protection of Jordan from its fires our top priority,” King Abdullah said.

He said that although there have been “mistakes”, Jordan's leadership is “always striving to update and correct our course, never deviating from our goals and aspirations”.

The king was speaking ahead of the September 10 parliamentary elections. The king holds all significant powers in Jordan, which is home to 10 million people.

The current parliament started its four-year cycle in December 2020.

“With your determination, we have endured the toughest tests,” King Abdullah said.

Jordan, the king said, constitutes “an achievement in the harshest conditions, perseverance in the toughest times”.

Unemployment in Jordan has dropped three per cent in the past two years to 21.4 per cent, government data indicates.

“We have vast opportunities to increase investment in various promising fields and sectors,” the king said.

Updated: June 10, 2024, 7:28 AM