(MENAFN - Jordan Times) His Majesty King Abdullah said the Arab Spring is a call for dignity, justice and freedom, and that there is no going back on the legitimate aspirations of the people to have a larger say in the way their societies are organised.
In an interview published in the Turkish Policy Quarterly magazine's latest issue, the King said the Arab Spring has "made life better for many Arabs".
"I trust we will eventually see the emergence of vibrant and engaged civil societies, more pluralism, democracy, justice and equality in the Arab world," he said, expressing his optimism of the future in the region.
"So far, signs are encouraging that the political forces and governments emerging from the Arab Spring want a healthy relationship and open dialogue with the West, and vice versa," the King stressed. (See full text of the interview)
On the situation in Syria, he underlined its volatility and unpredictability.
"It is impossible to predict how the Syria situation will evolve and fully and comprehensively assess its ramifications on Iran, Hizbollah, Hamas, Iraq and all other players and countries in the Middle East."
"The only certain thing is that the Syrian crisis is placing new burdens and responsibilities on the neighbours, namely both Turkey and Jordan, starting with looming prospects of a humanitarian emergency," the King noted.
Speaking about Jordan's reform drive, His Majesty acknowledged that comprehensive reform is a process that requires time, but called on the government and Parliament to speed up the measures needed to implement reforms.
"I fully appreciate that a truly inclusive, open and comprehensive national reform effort takes time. But I also urge the government and Parliament to move as fast as possible, especially on parliamentary elections, because we must maintain the momentum: We cannot disappoint the people and risk the credibility of the reform process."
He noted that the current stage represents a great opportunity for the Kingdom.
"We also stand an unprecedented opportunity to set a regional model of peaceful and consensual democratic transformation, and we do not want to miss this chance."
"I am optimistic about 2012, I am confident this will be Jordan's year of key reform. We have a clear roadmap and an agreed end-goal: parliamentary government."
"The timeline is also set, the government and Parliament have a daunting task ahead of them, with dozens of key political laws requiring drafting and promulgation, but they are on track so far. And, I will not tire to repeat, these changes are the beginning, not the end."
"We hope that others will look at the Jordan story and draw from it whatever lesson they find useful and applicable," the King added.
"If I was to describe all the efforts and components in Jordan's reform process in one word, perhaps 'dialogue' would be it."
"Our own accelerated, consensual, evolutionary reform process started with a National Dialogue Committee. And national dialogue to us is not a one-off committee. We want to ingrain it in our political life."
The King also reiterated the need to revive the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to arrive at lasting peace in the region.
"As I mentioned, the peace process remains front and centre to us. The achievement of a permanent peace that restores all Palestinian legitimate rights is not only a regional policy objective, but a paramount national interest of Jordan," he said.
"On the other hand, the window of opportunity for peace is quickly narrowing, and we are all - Palestinians, Israelis and the international community - running out of options."
The King noted that the Arab Spring has brought about geopolitical changes that have affected key players in the peace process.
"The Arab uprisings have obviously increased Israel's isolation, as was immediately made evident by the storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo last year."
"Another new geopolitical factor is that Egypt is now looking inwards and more preoccupied with its own transition. This means that others, including Jordan, have had to step up and step in, especially in terms of moving the peace process forward"
He added that reviving the peace process will defuse "any present or future standoff with Iran", warning that any military action against Tehran "would aggravate instability in the Middle East, and have greatly negative repercussions for the US, Europe and Israel".