leftspace.gif (58 bytes)

Following are excerpts from a CNN transcript of the Jan. 20 interview with His Majesty King Hussein conducted by CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour in Amman.

AMANPOUR: Your Majesty, thank you for joining us on this day. Yesterday, we were here, we saw you pilot your own plane into Amman. You were escorted by a dramatic 12-jet airborne escort. It looked amazing. How did you feel when you stepped off out of that plane yesterday and saw your family, and everybody there ready to welcome you?

KING HUSSEIN: It was a moving moment that I have been waiting for for a long, long time and one that I was wondering whether it would come. But with a lot of faith and determination and faith in God, of course, and with all the family support I received, particularly from my wife and children and everyone at the medical institute, I had to do my best. And so we get
through it, another ordeal, and a very, very difficult one at that. I learnt a lot, but coming home is — coming home to one's family and one's people and the country one has lived through ever since one was born and tried to serve to the best of my ability, certainly, during — well over 40 years now.

AMANPOUR: Your Majesty, you said that you wondered at some point whether you would make it home, whether you would get back. Was there a moment where you feared that you wouldn't come back?

KING HUSSEIN: No, I don't think that I had any questions, really, in that regard except that when, I mean, I realised that I'm getting on in years and that the problems that seem to appear from time to time are more numerous than they would be, but we approach that with a lot of honesty and a lot of clarity and transparency. And I have a feeling that, maybe others don't agree with me, that one should tell everybody exactly where one is on the physical side and every other respect.

AMANPOUR: Well, you certainly broke with tradition. In this region, there are many elderly leaders here, some of whom are sick and none of whom have really told their people what is wrong with them, if anything. But can we get back to what your plans are now. You've come home, all the Jordanians are wondering what's on your mind. There's been a lot of speculation. You've talked about a comprehensive review. What, they wonder, does that mean?

KING HUSSEIN: Well, let me put it in the following way. First of all, I have always been a fatalist, and I have always felt that there is a beginning to life and an end to life. And I feel it more than any time in the past.

Therefore my concern is not for me. It has never been for me anyway. It has been for Jordan, its stability, its progress, its democracy, its people — raising their heads, sharing and building up the future that is their right, not a broken people as we see in so many parts of the world. So, when you spend six months away, you watch, apart from the fact that I always watch, how things move, what tendencies there are, what trends, what weaknesses there may be.

And I think I've come back with a lot of thoughts and ideas. There've been many speculations but I think they are all speculations until they become fact.

AMANPOUR: There's been a great deal of speculation about your successor. Is there any reason for that? Are you going to change the current plan where Crown Prince Hassan, your brother, is designated as your successor?

KING HUSSEIN: Prince Hassan has done an awful lot of good during the years that he has spent by my side. Personally I chose to again demonstrate that it is not a question of personal objective or of greed or anything else. I felt it is an important time that there was no substitute but to find a member of the family close by to take over. My brother, Mohammed, concurred at the time. And it was I who did bring about and canvass for the alternative in our Constitution that enables a brother to take over at times. But that didn't mean at all that it was the end of the story, and I think a Crown Prince has to work in the background to a very large extent. I gave him maybe more than he would normally have because he has to be the reserve, — but when he gets too involved sometimes he gets the same kind of criticism that I do or maybe worse or otherwise.

So there are all these factors that we have to think about now and not in terms of Prince Hassan, this is not the sole focus of my attention at this stage, but what can we do to give Jordanians the assurance that the future is secure, that it's built on love and cooperation and understanding and not intimidation, and that it is a country that is going to continue to leave an impression on this part of the world.

AMANPOUR: So, sir, is that a yes or a no? Are you going to change the line of succession?

KING HUSSEIN: I'm not prepared to say anything, so please don't commit me to anything whatsoever because I really haven't come up with anything — I have only thoughts and ideas, and I've always had to take the final decisions and, although this has been contested at times, its my responsibility and I will come to it in an appropriate time.