King, Queen attend official dinner banquet at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague

His Majesty King Abdullah II and Queen Rania attended an official dinner banquet hosted by His Majesty King William-Alexander of the Netherlands and Queen Maxima at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague on Tuesday in honor of their Majesties and the accompanying delegation.

In a speech during the dinner, King Abdullah stressed the deep ties of friendship between the two countries and the Jordanian and Dutch peoples.

Following is the full text of His Majesty’s speech: “In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate, Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Rania and I are truly delighted to be back here, and thank you so much for such a warm welcome. So, on behalf of all of us, we are tremendously grateful for the kindness that we’ve been shown since our arrival.

When I think of the great friendships between the Dutch and Jordanian people; when I think of the long ties Your Majesty as you mentioned between our royal families; I must tell you, that coming to the Netherlands is like stepping into the house of an old friend.

In fact, we have stepped into a house of old friends, this marvellous palace. And, Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness, tonight brings back wonderful memories of our visit several years ago.

When we arrived yesterday, we saw that your beautiful spring is really beginning. I know this is quite a change from the record-breaking freeze you’ve suffered only a few weeks ago. Your frozen canals made news all over the world.

But of course, the Dutch had already been making news on the ice, on the other side of the world. I heard it said that the Dutch skaters turned the Olympic Oval into the House of Orange.

Rania and I congratulate all of your medallists and their teammates, but also, all of you who cheered them on.

We know how much your country does to support the dreams of young competitors, not just in international sports, but in all fields of endeavour.

And this is only one way the Netherlands sets an example for the world. We see your strong culture, your economic achievements, your advanced education, your diplomacy for peace and global progress.

The Netherlands knows what all countries today need to know: we are part of one world; we need to engage; and engage in a positive way.

My friends, There is no question our world faces tremendous challenges. But if the world’s people can learn anything from your country’s history, it is that challenges can be met when neighbours help neighbours, with durable solutions and sustainable action that create foundations for a better future.

This is Jordan’s commitment, as well. It is why my people have reached out with generosity and compassion to take on the burden of today’s refugee crisis. It is why we are dedicated to sustainable development, interfaith harmony, and peace.

In all this, the Netherlands is our deeply valued partner. Your country is helping advance education and innovation, create opportunity through investment and trade, and help refugees and those who are sacrificing so much to host them.

Let me say, Jordan is proud to be your partner also in the coalition against ISIS, and work with you to address the global terror threat. Our countries both understand the need for a holistic approach, one that addresses the crises and the conditions that leave people vulnerable to radicalisation, and supports those who are doing the right thing. Because, when we strengthen cooperation, and coexistence, and moderation, and shared prosperity, and hope, we are building a better future for all of us.

My friends, Time and again, the Netherlands has taken a lead in responding to injustice. Time and again, your country has stood as a model of tolerance and partnership. We in Jordan thank you and proudly stand side-by-side with you.” In turn, King William-Alexander of the Netherlands delivered a speech in which their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah in the Netherlands, stressing his country’s keenness to strengthen cooperation with Jordan in various fields.

He said: ” As you know, it was our parents who laid the foundations for the close friendship that unites our families. Your father, King Hussein � may his soul rest in peace � held a special place in my mother’s heart. When we think of him, it is with great warmth and gratitude. Almost 20 years after his passing, our fond memories of him remain.” King William-Alexander added: “We consider ourselves very fortunate, Your Majesty, that you continue to value Jordan’s special relationship with the Netherlands and with our family. Together with Queen Rania, you are committed to strengthening this bond. And so, this visit serves to highlight our mutual affection and friendship.” He stressed that Jordan is a beacon of stability in a region fraught with conflict and with God’s grace, it provides shelter in a turbulent neighbourhood.

He also said: “You are doing vital work to support the region, where tensions threaten to boil over, you work to reduce them. Your voice calls for calm. Your eyes see all the people in your kingdom. Your hands reach out to everyone willing to contribute to peace and progress. You are also reaching out to people in need. More than one million refugees from Syria and two-and-a-half million from other countries have sought sanctuary within your borders. And they have found it.” King William-Alexander indicated that the impact on daily life for the Jordanian people has been enormous as they are sharing what they have; food and shelter, water and electricity. schools and jobs, adding: ” This requires great sacrifice. For many years now, it has placed great demands on the people of Jordan. The international community will be forever grateful to Jordan in this regard. The Jordanian people may be modest in number, but their humanity is immense. You are right to be proud of that.

“Your Majesty, three years ago, in your speech at the European Parliament, you summed up your beliefs: ‘People thrive where there is mutual respect. Civilization is built on it. Futures are better for it. You have made it a personal priority to combat hate and violence. Not only in your own country, but throughout the Middle East and surrounding regions. In your role as initiator of the Aqaba Meetings, you bring leaders together in the name of peace,” King William-Alexander noted.

He emphasized that His Majesty King Abdullah II’s message of understanding and tolerance deserves to be heard and upheld everywhere.

He underlined that “peace demands more than moral support. It demands concrete action too. A lack of economic and social prospects will threaten the stability of any society. However good people’s intentions are.” King William-Alexander further said: “That’s why we must work together to promote growth and development. And indeed, this is the focus of your visit. Jordan needs jobs. And it’s easier to find work when the business climate is good and the education system prepares students well for the labour market. You are working hard to make this a reality. And the Netherlands is pleased to share our knowledge and experience with you. The same goes for sectors like logistics and agriculture. In Jordan, not one drop of water can be wasted. Dutch experts are ready to work with you on using natural resources as smartly and sustainably as possible.” “Your Majesty, like most people in your country, you have heard and used the words of the traditional Arabic greeting Assalamu alaikum from a young age. But for you and Queen Rania these words are more than a simple pleasantry. They are a personal motivation and mission. Both in your own country and beyond it. Your visit offers us the opportunity to show how much we appreciate your efforts. And how much we value the bonds we share,” King William-Alexander concluded.

Source: Jordan News Agency