King says he would support a Middle East version of NATO

Military alliance’s mission statement must be ‘very, very clear. Otherwise, it confuses everybody’

His Majesty King Abdullah speaks to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on June 22 in Amman. (Photo: Royal Court)
AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah said he would support the formation of a Middle East military alliance similar to NATO, and that it can be done with countries that are like-minded, in an interview with CNBC anchor and senior international correspondent Hadley Gamble in Amman on Wednesday.اضافة اعلان

King Abdullah also spoke about regional cooperation efforts to address the challenges brought on by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and achieve prosperity in the region, in addition to the US’ role in the Middle East, and the need for stepping up peace efforts as an essential requirement to enhance regional cooperation.

The Kingdom works actively with NATO and sees itself as a partner of the alliance, having fought “shoulder-to-shoulder” with NATO troops for decades, the King was quoted as saying in excerpts published on CNBC’s website on Friday.

“I’d like to see more countries in the area come into that mix,” he said. “I would be one of the first people that would endorse a Middle East NATO,” His Majesty added.

But the vision of such a military alliance must be very clear, and its role should be well defined, he added.

“The mission statement has to be very, very clear. Otherwise, it confuses everybody,” he said.

Besides potential security and military cooperation, countries in the Middle East are starting to work together to address the challenges that have arisen from the war in Ukraine, the King said.

“All of us are coming together and saying ‘how can we help each other’,” he said. “Help each other,” he emphasized, “which is, I think, very unusual for the region.” Countries in the region recognize the goal needs to be a win-win solution, the King said.

“If I’m okay and you’re not, I’m going to end up paying the price” because regional projects will be affected, he said. “I’m hoping what you’re seeing in 2022 is this new vibe, I guess, in the region to say, ‘how can we connect with each other and work with each other’,” he added.

King Abdullah also spoke about Jordan’s Economic Modernization Vision for the next decade, and the parallel tracks of political, economic, and administrative modernization.

On the Israel-Palestinian conflict, His Majesty said “if they’re not talking to each other that creates insecurities and instability in the region that will affect regional projects.”

On the Iran issue, the King said “nobody wants war, nobody wants conflict.” But it remains to be seen whether countries in the Middle East can work toward a vision where “prosperity is the name of the game”.

The full interview will be broadcast in early July.

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