Their Majesties laud close ties
By Azaraimy HH

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan lauded each other's leadership roles during the State Banquet last night at the Istana Nurul Iman.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, who delivered a titah, saw King Abdullah II's leadership as offering the bridge Brunei was also trying to offer between cultures and faiths, between systems of government and between past and future economic realities.

His Majesty King Abdullah II in his return speech said nations across the world look to Brunei as a leader in cooperation for development.

Their Majesties from Jordan arrived in Brunei yesterday for a three-day State Visit.

Present at the banquet were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar, HRH Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, HRH Paduka Seri Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Sarah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, YAM Pg Bini Hjh Faizah, HRH Prince Abdul Malik, HRH Prince Abdul Mateen, HRH Princess Hjh Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah, and other members of the royal family.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam offered King Abdullah II's government and people Brunei's close cooperation and warm respect.

His Majesty said during the Extraordinary Summit of the OIC in Mecca in 2005, the two countries and fellow leaders agreed to accept the great challenges facing the Muslim Ummah in the 21st Century.

"We produced an Action Plan that we hoped would be far more than words on paper," His Majesty said, and added, "We would not only face these challenges but that we would meet them successfully.

"This has committed us, as fellow members of the OIC, to a crucial common task on behalf of the hundreds of millions of people we represent, not just those who share our own faith but our people of all backgrounds and historical experiences."

His Majesty said this is why Brunei greatly admires the direction His Majesty King Abdullah II and his government has set for the Jordanian people.

"It is one that places Jordan not only on the path of modern progress but also of international goodwill and tolerance both in your own country and throughout your region."

In these efforts, His Majesty said, His Majesty King Abdullah II and the people of Jordan can be assured of the unwavering support of the government and people of Brunei Darussalam.

"We see Your Majesty's leadership as offering the bridge we are also trying to offer between cultures and faiths, between systems of government and between past and future economic realities

"It is directed at bringing people together rather than widening divisions between them," said the monarch.

His Majesty also reiterated Brunei's respect to Jordan's voice in the affairs of its region.

"The work that the people of Jordan are undertaking is one that we ourselves can greatly appreciate."

Like us, His Majesty said, they have embraced globalisation.

"Perhaps most important aspects of Your Majesty's reign has been the economic planning that your government and people have undertaken."

Like Brunei Darussalam, His Majesty said, Jordan has recognised the need to do more than passively witness modern changes taking place, it has taken bold steps to help its people take part in that change and try to shape it in their own image.

"This has led to a programme of economic diversification, which reflects our own in many ways.

"By this, I mean the importance of a vital public-private sector partnership, a new role for traditional natural resources, the promotion of new industries, the need for renewable energy supplies and the acceptance of international free trade," His Majesty said.

His Majesty said these are the hallmarks of a new modern economy. And many nations share these goals. The people of Jordan, however, are seeking to combine them in a special form of development, one that honours a great and glorious past; it acknowledges the unique place their land has in the history of civilisation, one that preserves its magnificent natural resources, one that supports the diverse culture of today through its talented writers, artists and musicians.

"These are noble tasks", said His Majesty. "They lie at the heart of the Mecca Plan of Action. And we admire the people of Jordan for undertaking them.

"Even though we are at opposite ends of our great continent we hope that the future will bring continued opportunities for us to add substance to our cooperation," His Majesty said.

Meanwhile, His Majesty King Abdullah II in his return speech expressed his pleasure on the high honour received with regards to the Royal Family Order of the Crown of Brunei or Darjah Kerabat Mahkota Brunei.

Reminiscing on this Order which his late father had received more than 20 years ago, King Abdullah noted that it is a magnificent symbol which represents the enduring friendship between the families and people. It is also a pledge of the continuing partnership in an important and turbulent century.

King Abdullah highlighted the deep belief of his late father, His Majesty King Hussein, in the strong bond between Jordan and Brunei and that he was grateful for His Majesty the Sultan's companionship and good counsel.

King Abdullah also touched on the key moments where they received counsel from His Majesty the Sultan on issues of vital concern, in particular the Middle East peace, global security, bilateral relations and many more.

"Together, I believe we can and must give our people and Muslims everywhere their rightful place in the progress of our era," he said.

"This path," said King Abdullah, "is based on the noble values of Islam with justice, compassion, respect for others and excellence.

"Thanks to Your Majesty's leadership, Brunei and its distinguished people are having a global impact today. Today, nations across the world look for your country as a leader on cooperation for development. In Asean, in the relationship between Asia and the Middle East, and in the global Islamic community, you have promoted the close, effective partnerships that are so necessary today."

King Abdullah also hoped that the visit could find new ways to bring the countries and regions even closer.

He said, Brunei and Jordan have many similarities - two small sovereign states, with active global roles, two governments committed to the welfare and advancement of their people, two talented young populations with high aspirations for the future.

"Our countries both recognise the critical need to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. If we are to grasp this opportunity - to end humanitarian suffering in Palestine - to curb extremist manoeuvring: we need a settlement between Israel and Palestine this year. Brunei has a worldwide role in peace and justice. Together, we must continue to press forward."

King Abdullah II also hoped to welcome His Majesty the Sultan in Jordan to return all the kindness he has received in Brunei. - Borneo Bulletin (14th May 2008)