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His Majesty King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan addresses the 91st International Labour Conference

Declaring that "work and working people are at the heart of global prosperity," King Abdullah II of Jordan today told the 91 stInternational Labour conference that the "war on want" must be won in order to "heal the divisions and despair that feed global violence".

Press release | 12 June 2003

GENEVA (ILO News) - Declaring that "work and working people are at the heart of global prosperity," King Abdullah II of Jordan today told the 91 International Labour conference that the "war on want" must be won in order to "heal the divisions and despair that feed global violence".

"Young people, who desperately need opportunities and hope, see themselves and their societies held back by poverty, health crises, illiteracy and more", King Abdullah said. "Is it any surprise that these communities can become recruiting grounds for extremist ideologies?"

In an address to some 2,500 delegates at the Conference, King Abdullah II said overcoming want "requires sustainable socio-economic development, development that enables all people to live in dignity. Such development is an important tool in the battle against extremism - as is a just resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Question of Palestine".

Insisting on "the urgent need to rebuild and stabilize the Middle East region", which is currently at "a critical crossroads", King Abdullah said he believed "now is the time to work together, to put our full force behind the process that will lead to the hand-over of Iraq to a credible Iraqi government, representing all Iraqis".

Referring to the recent summit in Aqaba aimed at setting out a new road to peace, King Abdullah indicated that "the process is beginning. But the friends of peace must now stay the course".

In his welcoming remarks, the ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said the road to peace in the Middle East was facing renewed difficulties, but "as the leadership of our guest and his great nation has proved through the years we cannot give up".

Quoting from a statement by King Abdullah made during the Aqaba summit, he said "King Abdullah's words in Aqaba provide inspiration: 'The biggest casualty in the Middle East, he said, is a loss of hope. We have this opportunity", he continued, "and an obligation to reinstate faith in the process and to reinvigorate hopes for a better tomorrow'".

King Abdullah said Jordan had introduced reforms to enhance the training and productivity of its workforce, without which the economy could not grow. The King also stated that he firmly believed that "progress on the national level demands progress on the global level as well".

"Achieving such progress will require a true partnership between developed and developing countries - a partnership based on our common interests, our interdependence, and our shared responsibilities", the King said. "Only such a partnership can deliver the global justice that is required ... and encourage developing countries to embark upon needed political, economic and social reforms."

Stating that such a new global partnership required "hard choices", King Abdullah added "dialogue must be coupled with action, from both sides. Across the board, we need improved market access, the removal of trade barriers and predictable trade policies. Developed countries must increase the level of direct assistance, encourage foreign direct investment and technology transfer and reduce the debt burden. Developing countries must commit to sound economic policies, coupled with the right safety nets, good governance and the rule of law".

"In my region, in every region, we must cooperate, and quickly, to address key issues - political freedoms, improving the role of women and bridging the knowledge gap", the King said.