President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Beatitude, Prince Ghazi, friends,
I am happy to welcome everyone taking part in the opening of the Russian hospice located next to one of the most important Christian shrines: the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ.
I would like to thank King Abdullah II of Jordan, who not only gave the Russian Federation a plot of land for this significant project, but fully supported it as well. Our Jordanian friends have done everything possible so that our builders can erect a Russian mission here. And we know how important it is for thousands of pilgrims who come to these places every year. Russians have been visiting these sites since the 13th century. Preserving such shrines brings people closer together and serves our common high moral values.
The Middle East is known as a crossroads of world religions and has known different periods in its history, including some dramatic ones. But the traditions of mutual understanding, mutual enrichment of cultures and customs, have always been strong here.
Everyone is aware of the role played by Jordan and King Abdullah II: in 2005, the Amman Message was adopted, which became an important tool in settling disagreements within Islam. These ideas – ideas of mutual respect and dialogue – are becoming even more popular today, here in the Middle East and throughout the world. The history of Russia, which spans more than a thousand years, also speaks to this; it was created through the efforts and care of people from different ethnic backgrounds and faiths.
I am certain that peace, harmony and mutual understanding will always prevail here at this hospice, in this home for pilgrims. It will always be open to all who cross its threshold with good intentions.