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In this public letter to HRH Crown Prince El Hassan, His Majesty King Hussein tells the Jordanian people of his recovery from illness and of his hope that the Iraqi leadership would comply with UN Security Council resolutions in order to avoid another disaster for the Iraqi people.

His Majesty says that he is being treated for a lymph gland infection which has afflicted him for several months, and that the treatment is proceeding successfully. He then tells of his recent conversations with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and of her commitment to a US push for progress on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. King Hussein stresses his hope that Iraqi leaders will not underestimate the danger currently facing Iraq, and recalls a letter he sent to President Saddam Hussein before the 1991 Gulf War warning of his fear for the future of Iraq and the whole Arab Nation if the situation was not resolved peacefully.

Fortunately, His Majesty’s advice was heeded this time. Reason and diplomacy prevailed in February 1998, when Iraq and the United Nations signed an agreement to resolve the crisis. The Iraqi people were thus spared the consequences of another catastrophe.


Letter to His Royal Highness Crown Prince El Hassan

January 31, 1998


(Translated from the original Arabic)


In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate,

My Dear Brother, His Royal Highness Crown Prince El Hassan, the Regent,

I have given considerable thought to the discussion I had last night with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during the visit she paid me in London, where I am resting while continuing medical treatment towards total recovery, God willing.

As you know, I began treatment several months ago for a microorganism that has agitated my lymph glands and caused occasional fever, weight loss, fatigue and severe exhaustion during that period. This has been the reason for my recent travels to Britain and the Mayo Clinic in the United States, where the problem was finally identified and medication was started immediately to eliminate it and its effects, God willing.

As for yesterday's meeting, it was frank and clear in terms of the dimensions we tackled, namely the peace process and the difficult circumstances it is going through, and the Iraq crisis.

Regarding the former, Mrs. Albright conveyed to me the determination of the U.S. President and administration to continue their work and efforts with the aim of attaining a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, and to concentrate at this state on the Palestinian-Israeli dimension.

She also informed me that the United States presented both sides with ideas, the acceptance of which will move the process in the right direction, supported by a U.S. commitment to live up to its guarantees to what has been previously agreed to. However, rejection of these ideas by any party will render that party responsible for obstructing the process. It was made clear that what is not attainable in its entirety at this stage should not be altogether discarded, and that what is being currently offered is not the end of the road but rather a step on the way towards the ultimate objective.

As for Iraq, Mrs. Albright has assured me that neither the president nor the American administration and people wish to harm our brotherly Iraqi people. On the contrary, they all sympathize with their suffering and are seeking ways of reducing and ending it.

She said they support the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, but that the United States and the world cannot allow any party to challenge the international will and the resolutions of the Security Council and to refuse strict compliance with them, particularly in such a situation which is dependent on diplomacy and the cooperation of the Security Council members and the international community to solve the crisis. This will continue to the last minute before its failure leads to the use of effective force to stop a country that has previously developed and used weapons of mass destruction, in order to deny it the possibility to use, own, or develop them in the future.

They believe that the leadership of that country will be making an extremely serious miscalculation if they are betting on the possibility of a division in the Security Council in a manner that might prevent the use of force, or if they think that the current situation is a bluff or a maneuver, and that stubbornness in responding to the Security Council's demands will not bear fruit but rather, would move the situation towards an explosion—may God forbid—in the aforementioned manner. I remembered my last meeting with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein before the Gulf War and after his occupation of brotherly Kuwait. I also recalled the Arab summit meetings which preceded that catastrophe and in which the President of Iraq continuously emphasized the need for commitment by all Arabs not to use force against each other and for commitment by all Arabs to military action against any Arab country that violates this agreement.

I remembered the letter I sent on my return from my trip to the Arab Maghreb countries in which I warned, offered advice, and expressed fear, not only over the future of Iraq but also for the future of the entire Arab Nation if the situation was not resolved before the expected explosion took place.

After this letter, his last words while bidding me farewell at the airport were: "The entire universe is against us and God is with us. Victory will be ours, so don't worry and don't trouble yourself."

My response was "Thank you. I shall return to my country feeling sad, worried and full of sorrow. What I have heard is beyond my ability to deal with. Should you need my help in something good and worthwhile, I shall be in Amman."

The catastrophe occurred and the entire nation suffered, and God knows how much we too suffered as a result of suffering of the brotherly Iraqi people. We never ceased to try and offer earnest advice to the Iraqi leadership, all to no avail. We have worked diligently, still do, and will continue to work to alleviate the suffering of the victimized (Iraqi) people as a foremost priority.

My dear brother,

It is my wish that you broadcast this letter for all to hear so that our conscience can be relieved, and in order to do our duty out of fear for our nation and for the dear Iraqi people, and not in any way in an attempt to scare people. We are very much part of this nation and we will continue to hope for the best. I know already that there will be those who will criticize and others who will boast, but I do not hide anything from my people for I know that doing nothing is futile and that doing all that is good for people shall remain on earth.

Letter to HRH Crown Prince El Hassan

February 1, 1998