At the State Banquet Hosted by His Excellency the President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson
26 May 2000
Your Excellency President Grimsson,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for Rania and myself to be with you this evening, on our first state visit to the Republic of Iceland. On behalf of the entire Jordanian delegation, allow me to express our sincere appreciation for all the warm hospitality that we have enjoyed since our arrival earlier today. I would also like to convey the sincere feelings of friendship that the Jordanian people hold for your great country and for your proud people.
Our two countries have bridged the geographical distance that separates us to build a special relationship that promises to be fruitful and beneficial for both our peoples. I know the admiration that His late Majesty King Hussein held for your country. His Royal Highness Prince Faisal Bin Al Hussein and Princess Alia Al Faisal were the first in our family to visit, and to have the opportunity to witness the great achievements that your country has made. They have urged us ever since to come and see for ourselves. I am confident that this opportunity will enhance the bilateral ties between our two countries, and will widen the scope of co-operation in the various fields. The discussions held at the official level and with representatives of the private sector as well, promise to be a solid platform for strong relations built on a common view of the world, and a shared interest in development and prosperity. Your support for peace, security and stability in the Middle East is greatly appreciated. It is especially valued by those of us in the region who have suffered for too long, and who have long aspired to establish justice, harmony and friendship.
The keen interest shown by representatives of leading sectors of your economy in the promotion of business ties with Jordan and its private sector is encouraging indeed. I shall follow up with my Government to ensure that many of these potentials are fulfilled. I also look forward to welcoming Your Excellency, along with representatives of Icelandic Companies to Jordan, where you can also see what we have, and explore the possibilities of joint co-operation in areas of common interest.
Excellency, Distinguished Guests,
At a time when technological advances are making physical distances no longer a barrier to exchanges and co-operation, Iceland is providing a model and an example. In particular, the growth of the IT and communications industry in Iceland has shown that smaller countries with highly skilled talents can chart new horizons for others. The bridges built with many countries around the world, and the participation in regional and international trade blocs, testify to your strong outward orientation, and complement your efforts to be a leader in new technologies. It is a pioneering spirit that Iceland has become known for. It is similar to that shown one thousand years ago by Leifur Eiriksson who was the first to discover a neighbouring continent of yours, well before others did. Your modern age development has made you one of the leaders in literacy, and in medical health. Your population and size have been well harnessed to guarantee an effective participation in the global economy. You truly deserve recognition as well as admiration. For us in Jordan, who also embrace modernity and outward orientation as a path leading to development and progress, you have offered us a model to emulate. We are not far off, and we have prepared the groundwork for launching a new Jordan where hope will be realised, and promise will be fulfilled.
The new century will hopefully be much better for the Middle East than the departing one. We in Jordan shall not leave this to chance. We shall continue to play the moderating and supporting role that we have always performed, in order to guarantee the establishment of a just and lasting peace. Our active participation in building a new regional model of co-operation that is based on comprehensive peace, security and stability, is an essential part of our priorities. It cannot be fulfilled unless Jordan truly becomes a force for positive economic change in the region, where freedom of expression and enterprise will become a reality, and will be able to sustain development. It is our desire to work with you to sustain the momentum in the peace process and to expand it to become a comprehensive one. I am personally committed and determined to work for this objective. And I believe that your role as pioneers in the establishment of good relations with others is vital.
On behalf of the Jordanian people, I would like to take this memorable opportunity to extend to you, President Grimsson, an invitation to visit our country, where Rania and I hope to return some of the hospitality that we are enjoying in your country. We thank you for your kind generosity and your warm reception. I would like to propose a toast: for the continued success and happiness of Your Excellency, the prosperity of the people of Iceland, and the friendship between Iceland and Jordan.