King Abdullah II of Jordan honored with German peace prize | News | DW | 08.10.2016

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King Abdullah II of Jordan honored with German peace prize

The German president has lauded the monarch for "setting the standard for humanitarianism and humanity." A significant portion of Jordan's state budget has gone into supporting the 656,000 migrants from Syria.

King Abdullah II of Jordan was honored with this year's Westphalian Peace Prize in the historical German town of Muenster on Saturday.

The King of Jordan was recognized for his commitment to peace in the Middle East and his country's migrant policies.

Speaking at the ceremony, German President Joachim Gauck praised King Abdullah II saying, "You and your people have set the standard for humanitarianism and humanity." He also lauded the king for his commitment to finding a two-state solution in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The Jordanian king said called on the international community to support his country in the take up of refugees. The international community is facing "the biggest worldwide refugee crisis in human history," he said. "We are standing before a global crisis, which requires a global action."

Of the almost 5 million refugees that fled Syria, as many as 656,000 are currently living in Jordan. Gauck said that Jordan was an exemplar to other countries hosting refugees. "a significant portion of its state budget was dedicated to helping these people," Gauck said. "Jordan is doing all it can to help, both during current and in earlier conflicts."

Meetings with Merkel

On Friday, King Abdullah II commended German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "open door" refugee policy and her government's support of other countries in the region dealing with the flood of refugees from Syria.

At a meeting between the two leaders, the king said the Chancellor's approach to the refugee crisis was a "breath of fresh air," and she raises "the moral bar very high."

Last year, Germany received just under 900,000 refugees. The country has also been a key supporter in providing aid to countries bordering Syria, such as Jordan and Turkey.

Honoring peace and equality

The Westphalian Peace Prize has honored distinguished individuals and organizations regarded as role models for promoting peace and equality since 1998. It is awarded in conjunction with a youth prize given to a young individual and youth organization. This year's youth prize was awarded to the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, a German peace organization that confronts the legacy of Nazism. Both recipients receive a 100,000 euro prize.

The prize remembers the Peace of Westphalia, signed in Münster and Osnabrueck, which ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and they Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch. It marked the first time in European History that a conflict was ended by a diplomatic truce.

Notable past winners include former German Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and the Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim.

dm/rc (AFP, AP, dpa)