King Abdullah II
Interview with Paula Zahn on CNN
September 12, 2001
PAULA ZAHN: I need to mention that a bunch of us up here on the platform have
just sighted what we believe to be a military jet doing some kind of flyover.
In light of what David Ensor is reporting, it doesnt make a whole lot
of sense when he is describing his report made sense describing the activity
in Canada. But this jet was traveling south and slightly east of here; you know,
appeared, you know, over 5th Avenue. We have no idea of what the relevance of
that flight is. But it clearly was a military jet. Some folks on here who are
very good at identifying military aircraft thought it was an F-16. We will try
to confirm whether it was and what it all means.
But right now, I have the honor of joining King Abdullah of Jordan now for his
reaction to what has happened here in the United States. Your Majesty, thank
you very much for joining us today.
Do you have any idea who is responsible for this massacre in the United States?
HIS MAJESTY, KING ABDULLAH BIN HUSSEIN: I think at this stage it is too early
to tell. Obviously the international community, Jordan included, is working
very closely with the United States to try and come up with some answers as
quickly as possible. But Im sure in a very short period of time well
be able to identify the individuals or the organizations that were behind this
very barbaric act.
ZAHN: What kind of intelligence support are you providing the United States?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, many countries in the Middle East, as well as further afield,
are working closely together with the different agencies in the United States
to compare information. And this is not just because of the crisis. This is
something that has been going on for many years. But, obviously, everybodys
in their offices working night and day to try and get to the bottom of this
horrendous crime as quickly as possible.
ZAHN: And in what way is Jordan attempting to combat terrorism right now?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, obviously, Jordan has been working very closely with the
United States for many years due to the unfortunate experiences that our country
has gone through. And we have a very close working relationship between the
security services, the intelligence communities of both countries.
But, again, I think you must understand that combating international terrorism
is actually a combined effort by many countries all over the world, and were
just part of that effort.
ZAHN: As I understand it, you were halfway across the Atlantic on your way to
the United States, and your jet turned around. What else can you tell us about
KING ABDULLAH: Well, really, we were almost coming towards the coastline of
Nova Scotia when we got the information of the first incident of the first aircraft
hitting one of the towers. And as the information began to unfold, obviously
we did feel like we wanted to continue to the United States. Air traffic was
a problem at that point. And obviously, we realized that the government and
the federal agencies were going to have their hands full because of the tragic
So it was better to return home at that point. But all of here in Jordan would
like to share in the sorrow and the grief that has befallen the United States,
and particularly the families of the victims involved.
ZAHN: A number of world leaders, including yourself, have condemned this attack;
Yasser Arafat yesterday condemning the attack. What is your reaction to some
of the Palestinians yesterday in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank who were
celebrating these attacks in the United States as a victory against Israel?
KING ABDULLAH: Well, I think we were, here in Jordan, just as shocked as you
are. But again, as you said, its a small group. And I think this small
group of individuals that were celebrating and in no way is a reflection of
the Palestinian people or the people of the Middle East. I think all of us are
shocked and saddened and distraught that so many innocent people have been hurt
or killed in this devastating incident. And we all have families, and just to
think of putting ourselves in the shoes of those bereaved ones in the United
States I think has touched everybody. I have friends of mine in New York. I
spent yesterday on the airplane trying to call my friends to make sure they
were all right. I think all of us have been touched by this incident. And I
hope that this is a renewed effort now by the international community to really
to be able to work much stronger together. Theres a lot more that we can
do to break down the barriers of cooperation between different countries to
try and rid ourselves of this horrendous from of international terrorism.
ZAHN: Your Majesty, do you think U.S. policy in the region made the United States
vulnerable to this attack?
KING ABDULLAH: I believe that many countries in the world have been targets
for terrorist organizations. As I said, this is not a phenomenon of this week.
The United States and the international community have been battling terrorism
for several decades now. And, again, it must be pointed out that this is an
ongoing battle that happens everyday. And Im somewhat surprised that something
like this had not happened sooner. I mean the law of averages, sooner or later
the bad guys are going to get one through, and, you know, we have to understand
that. And I hope American has, and Im sure it will have, the strength
and determination to pick ourselves up and really take the fight to the terrorists
and those responsible for the heinous crimes that we saw perpetrated yesterday.
ZAHN: So it sounds to me, Your Majesty, and I have to do this briefly, that
in essence, youre saying perhaps even if, as one of our guests suggested
earlier today, peace had been achieved in July of 2000, this still in
the Middle East, this still might have happened.
KING ABDULLAH: I dont believe so, because I think that if you had solved
the problems of the Middle East, and obviously the core issue is that between
the Israeli and Palestinians, I doubt very much that this incident would have
taken place, and again, that was a reminder to all of us and why I think so
many of us in the international community have been working so hard to bring
a stop to the violence and bring people back to the peace process, because,
in a vacuum, you do allow the extremists the upper hand and the chance to try
things as what happened yesterday. And they will continue on trying until we
can solve the problem once and for all.
ZAHN: King Abdullah, it is an honor to have you join us here at CNN. We very
much appreciate your time. Thank you again