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Media & Communication Directorate
Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Chairs Cabinet Meeting
Amman, 22 March 2003

His Majesty emphasized that we have to try to work to halt the war against Iraq as soon as possible stressing that we also have an enormous and very important humane obligation towards our brothers in Iraq to ease their suffering and help them overcome the ramifications of this war.

During a cabinet meeting chaired by His Majesty today, His Majesty said that we have exerted all our efforts with all our capacities through the contacts and efforts we have made with the United Nations, the Europeans, the Americans and the Iraqis in order to avert Iraq the war which is going on right now.

His Majesty said that we are feeling pain and distress from the scenes that we have seen on television screens yesterday and the torment the brotherly Iraqi people is exposed to. His Majesty stressed that he is satisfied with the measures and plans that the government has taken in coordination with the Armed Forces and other departments in order to give humane assistance to the Iraqi people.

His Majesty stressed that the priority is for the internal situation, protection of the internal front and preserving security and stability in our homeland. He emphasized that our duty is that every Jordanian is assured that the situation in the Kingdom calls for comfort.

His Majesty said that it is normal that Jordanians feel enraged towards what their brothers in Iraq are going through as we are all distressed and angry for what is going on but regrettably neither we nor the international community were able to halt what is going on now. His Majesty added that we have to look for a solution to halt war.

His Majesty indicated that demonstration of anger for what is going on should be in a civilized manner away from violence and destruction of the accomplishments of the country and people's possessions. His Majesty directed the government and the security departments to deal with demonstrators with flexibility. His Majesty described that there is a difference between demonstrating in a civilized manner and destruction stressing the need to take into consideration the respect of laws and public order.

His Majesty called on everyone to work in the spirit of one team emphasizing that a strong Jordan is one that preserves its accomplishments and achievements and therefore is able to help our brothers. He also stressed that every one of us should work for the interest of our homeland.

His Majesty said that the programs of the government for the year 2003 should be continued in implementation in a normal manner and in accordance with the designed plans and timetables.

His Majesty added “the more we were able to stabilize things in Jordan the more we will be able to fulfill our role in helping Iraq in these difficult circumstances its going through”.

His Majesty instructed the government to pay attention to the Jordanian sectors that will be affected indicating the importance of studying the situation of these sectors and the need to look after these sectors and support them.

His Majesty expressed his gratitude and appreciation to Arab brethren and friendly countries that provided economic support to Jordan in this condition that the region is going through.

Earlier, the Prime Minister informed His Majesty, in the meeting that was attended by the King's Adviser on Security Issues, Director of General Intelligence Department and Rapporteur of the National Security Council General Saad Kheir, Minister of the Royal Hashemite Court Faisal Fayez, Chief of the Royal Hashemite Court Yousef Dalabih, about the preparations of the government to face any emergency as a result of the occurrence of war.

Even though the Prime Minister pointed out to the difficulty of the situation that Jordan and region is going through, Mr. Abu Al Ragheb stressed that our needs from food, supply and energy items in all its forms will be available in a normal manner.

The Prime Minister mentioned that there are specific sectors that will be affected by the crisis more than others such as tourism, transport and exports. He stressed that the government has taken measures to mitigate the ramifications of war on these sectors in the frame of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations and that it will follow up on the exports that were agreed on in accordance with this article.

Mr. Abu Al Ragheb also emphasized that the monetary situation is stable and in good condition based on the huge reserves from our foreign currency available in the Kingdom.

He also stressed that, in light of the spread of rumors about war and its daily details, the government will ensure that the Jordanian Media is clear and responsible and with the utter level of transparency and accountability.

He indicated that the government understands the position and motives of people going in anti-war demonstrations. However, he stressed that preserving security and stability represents a priority for the government at this stage.

In his illustration about the means of the government in dealing with the crisis, and its performance during these conditions, the Prime Minister stressed that the government will work to ensure that things proceed with normality in order to meet the daily needs of people and the government proceed with its economic and social program at the time it will work to mitigate the ramifications of war and reduce its impact.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Higher Education in cooperation with Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad have facilitated the return of Jordanian students from Iraq indicating that most of them have actually returned last week.

He added “there are daily communications with the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad to ensure the return of the remaining students and citizens and facilitate their procedures”.

A number of Ministers presented a briefing about the preparations and measures their Ministries have taken in dealing with the current situation.

The Minister of Interior, Mr. Qaftan Majali, pointed out that several spontaneous rallies were made yesterday and that the security departments dealt with them in the maximum levels of restrain and that the rallies ended without violence with the exception of some minor incidents which was dealt with rationality. He indicated that some political parties submitted requests to organize demonstrations and speech assemblies in the next coming days and the government is studying these applications.

The Minister of Industry and Trade Dr. Salah Al Bashir stressed that the storage supply of 14 items covers the needs of the Kingdom for several months indicating that the import of these items is continuing in a normal way.

He mentioned that the Ministry has augmented the monitoring process in cooperation with Administrative Governors on the prices of the items that witnessed an increase in the last period indicating that the prices of these items now are stable as a result of the return of its demand to the normal situation.

Minister of State for Political Affairs and Minister of Information Dr. Mohammed Al Adwan said that he together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs would hold press conferences regularly in order to highlight the political and humane role of Jordan towards the brothers in Iraqi. He pointed out to the services and facilities the Ministry of Information is making to the correspondences of the Media outlets and Arab and foreign journalists in Amman and Ruweished who amount to around 1200 journalists and technician.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Marwan Muasher outlined that the press conferences he will hold with the Minister of Information aims to illustrate the clear and announced Jordanian position towards the Iraqi crisis and respond to the inquiries of the journalists and refute the rumors and inaccurate news that some International media agencies are spreading.

He pointed out that the Ministry has opened operation rooms at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to contact Arab and Foreign embassies in Amman about securing the return of their citizens from Iraq through the Jordanian borders.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Mohammed Bataineh, stressed that Jordan's storage of crude oil and petroleum derivatives is available in a normal manner and that our acquirement of that item is also available. He described that the Petroleum Refinery is working with its full production capacity to provide all petroleum derivatives to petrol stations in the Kingdom.

Minister of Transport, Mr. Nader Thahabi, stressed that the airspace of Jordan and its airports are safe and open to civil and international aviation and that Royal Jordanian and some International Airlines are continuing their flights from and to the Kingdom in a normal way.

He pointed out that as a result of the confidence and assurance of air and marine transport companies in the security of the Jordanian airspace and regional water, the transport sector in the air and marine fields was not affected, at this stage, because there was no increase in the rates of insurance.