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Media & Communication Directorate
Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Abdullah II Meets Economic Activists
Amman, 8 April 2003

His Majesty King Abdullah II said today that we will continue to exert our efforts and contacts with the Arab and friendly countries in order to stop the war on Iraq and ensure the delivery of aid to the Iraqi people as soon as possible.

During a meeting with representatives of economic segments in the presence of the Prime Minister, Minister of the Royal Hashemite Court and members of the economic ministerial team, His Majesty stressed the keenness to keep our brotherly relations with the Iraqi people strong in the present and in the future.

His Majesty outlined the efforts made by Jordan with International forces to avert the war on Iraq indicating his deep concern to the current situation in Iraq as a result of the invasion and the killing of innocent civilians.

His Majesty said we have a program to help the Iraqi people to overcome this ordeal they are going through. However, His Majesty expressed his sorrow because we are unable to deliver assistance to the Iraqi people in the prevailing circumstances and as a result of military operations.

His Majesty stressed the importance of cooperation between the public and private sectors in the Kingdom at this stage to overcome the ramifications of war on Jordanian economic sectors particularly tourism, transport and industry.

The Prime Minister Mr. Ali Abu Al Ragheb outlined that in response to His Majesty's directives with regard to economic sectors affected from the war on Iraq, a committee was formed to study the ramifications of the damages and possible means to enable these sectors to continue its production.

The Prime Minister praised the cooperation of the private sector and the evaluation of its representatives to this phase and the resulting damages on the national economy because of the war.

He indicated that different sectors already started to suffer from the ramifications of the war and we will help them to overcome this crisis.

Mr. Abu Al Ragheb stressed the strength of the national economy and his confidence in its ability to overcome this stage with what it possesses from depth and capabilities in dealing with such circumstances indicating that the government affords the economic security a special importance along with national and political security.

He said that we currently place special emphasis on the citizen and the labour force and we have started to prepare a system that would deal with affected sectors in order to mitigate the impact on the workers in these sectors.

He pointed out that tourism was affected because of the circumstances that prevailed in the region during the past years and the war on Iraq has worsened the situation of this sector.

He said that the government will adopt equations to deal with the damages suffered by the sectors of transport and industry and Jordanian exports to the Iraqi market in the short and long run. He added that our plan is to ensure that no labour is being discharged.

In regard to the issue of petroleum, Mr. Abu Al Ragheb pointed out that the government has taken all measures to secure this vital commodity and to make it available to the Jordanian market in all circumstances.

The representatives of the private sector praised the initial position taken by His Majesty King Abdullah II in rejecting the war on Iraq and the diligent efforts exerted by His Majesty to stop the war and ease its ramifications on the Iraqi people.

In addition, they commended the interest afforded by His Majesty to the private sector as a major partner in the development process along with the public sector.

Senator Haider Murad, Chairman of the Federation of Jordanian Chambers of Commerce, said that the representatives of the commercial sector praise the efforts of His Majesty to stop the war on Iraq and the condemnation of the killing of innocent civilians and His Majesty's call to preserve the unity of Iraq and the entitlements of its people.

Murad emphasized the importance of supporting the Jordanian position and averting the Kingdom any negative impacts resulting from this war.

He also stressed the role of the private sector in this difficult situation and the readiness of the commercial sector to contribute to the national efforts in order to provide basic goods and commodities to the Jordanian citizen.

For his part, Dr. Hatem Halawani, Chairman of Amman Chamber of Industry, expressed his appreciation for His Majesty's keen interest in the Jordanian sectors that will be affected by the war on Iraq.

He said that the enormous challenges facing the region should not hinder our progress towards more work and productivity in accordance with the designed plans in order to preserve the capabilities and entitlements of the country.

He stressed that the balance led by His Majesty between national priority and Arab national priority is a source of pride for all Jordanians.

He added that despite the surrounding regional circumstances, Jordan was able to achieve an increasing growth in the last three years which averaged around 5%, and the National Industrial Output has also grown more than this average during the same period.

He indicated that industrial output has exceeded over its average of 20% during the last two years in record percentages.

He pointed out that the Amman Chamber of Industry, out of its keen interest to ensure the continuity of the process of production in Jordan, asserts it complete partnership with government in assuming the enormous responsibilities that we are facing in these harsh circumstances indicating that we are dealing with it in the spirit of one team through our continuous coordination with officials and relevant parties.

During the meeting there was an extensive discussion in which Ministers of Industry and Trade, and Transport and Tourism, Chairman of the Jordanian Businessmen Association, General Manager of Jordan Tourism Board, Managing Director of the Association of Banks and Vice Chairman of the Jordan Insurance Federation talked about the measures taken by the government in facing the circumstances prevailing in the region and its ramifications on the economic sectors.