2003-10-07

H.M. Konungens tal vid galamiddag för H.M Konung Abdullah II bin al Hussein och Drottning Rania av Jordanien på Drottningholms slott

Your Majesties,

Your Royal Highnesses,

Excellencies,

Honoured guests,

It is a great pleasure for the Queen and myself to welcome You and Your distinguished delegation to Sweden and to this dinner at our residence, Drottningholm Palace.

There are very special ties between Your family and mine since the reign of the late King Hussein, whom we had the pleasure of welcoming to Stockholm, together with Queen Noor, almost twenty years ago.

The relations between our families have been strengthened by renewed contacts during the Queen's and my State Visit to Jordan in 1989. A visit that made deep impressions on the two of us for many reasons.

We visited different parts of Your fascinating country, different institutions, organizations and projects. But what we most of all remember is the extraordinary landscape and the early morning tour through the exceptional remnants of Petra, a place that leaves nobody untouched.

Also Crown Princess Victoria came home after Her visit to Jordan two years ago with happy memories from Your country. The aim of Her trip was a field visit to United Nations regional organizations. But Petra - again - with all its history, and the spontaneous meeting there with Your Majesty, had left Her with deep impressions.

So had Jerash. She also appreciated the great and personal hospitality shown to Her by Your Majesties and Your family in Your residence in Aqaba.

When this warm friendship between our families is combined with the close cooperation between our two nations the bonds become very strong. A State Visit is the ultimate sign of an excellent relationship and fruitful exchange of experiences in different sectors of society like politics, economy and commerce.

Our development cooperation in the sectors of water, energy, education and industry is, to my knowledge, running smoothly. I am happy to be able to tell you that an expansion of that cooperation has just been announced, including an environmental research project in Aqaba.

Your Majesty,

You and Your team are well known to us and the rest of the world for Your brave initiatives and hard work in reforming Your country, primarily in the economic field.

It is my sincere hope that Your State Visit to Sweden will inspire You in Your efforts and lead to a continued development of contacts, not least between our business communities.

During the next two days I will be pleased to show Your Majesty some areas, which may have the potential for such a development. I am convinced that You will find this a rewarding tour.

I would also like to mention the important role of Jordan in the dialogue between cultures, a dialogue aiming at defying ignorance, which unfortunately often leads to hatred as well as extreme political ideas and activities.

In Sweden, with an increasing population with roots in foreign countries, cultures and religions Jordan's efforts to bridge such differences are most appreciated.

Your Majesty,

We all are aware of and closely follow the conflicts in the Middle East. Recent developments, close to Your borders, unfortunately do not make the picture very much brighter.

Jordan has taken a moderate and pragmatic position. I cannot but express my deepest admiration for the tireless work You are pursuing for a sustainable peace in the region.

A peace that also includes improved living conditions for Your people.

At Your side Queen Rania is taking impressive initiatives in the social field and within traditional culture. Her efforts have been admired not only in Jordan but also abroad.

Earlier this year She was awarded the German Media Prize, a prize that She shared with Queen Silvia, for commitment and hard work for the less fortunate members of society.

Your Majesties,

I hope this evening and this visit will be filled with happiness and good fortune. Allow me for a second, though, to recall the fact that Sweden lately was struck by tragedy, when our Foreign Minister Ms. Anna Lindh was brutally murdered.

The support and sympathy we have received from so many nations, among them Jordan, in this time of trial has strengthened our will to continue the path of democracy and an open society.

For the warm friendship between Jordan and Sweden as well as for Your Majesties and all Your family I wish to ask everyone to join me in a toast!

Welcome, thank you and SKÅL!