Before the Military Society of Norway
11 April 2000
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a privilege to address you today and to have the opportunity to discuss with such a distinguished gathering the role of Jordan in the establishment of peace and stability in the Middle East. I shall not delve into the history of the Middle East nor shall I discuss the geographic, demographic, and social factors that placed Jordan at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. I would rather concentrate on looking towards the future and seeking the best course for Jordan to follow in order to enhance its role in containing conflicts and in resolving them peacefully, in institutionalising moderation, and in building frameworks of co-operation. The modern history of the Middle East has vindicated this role, which was religiously protected by His late Majesty King Hussein, and has enshrined it as a model in the search for peace and justice in our part of the world. In fact, it has clearly shown that Jordanians were able not only to withstand the challenges of war, conflict and regional tension, but that they have also consistently sacrificed in order to uphold moderation, to defend stability, and to seek peaceful coexistence with all in the region. Nowhere is this better recorded than in the history of our relations with the Palestinian people. When our brothers and sisters needed refuge we welcomed them, and when they needed support we were the first to give it. Now as they march towards regaining their rights on the road to peace which passed through this valiant city, we will walk alongside them until they attain justice, peace and fulfilment. This proud chapter in our history clearly echoes the Arab and Islamic virtues of responsibility, hospitality, and chivalry which Jordan has epitomised and developed since 1923. It is a theme of the legacy of the Hashemites, whose fierce insistence on freedom, liberty and dignity for the Arab people, and for peaceful coexistence and co-operation with the world around them, articulates the achievements of the Arab Revolt at the beginning of the last century.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Jordan that I am proud to represent before you today derives its noble principles from this same legacy. With its rich history of selfless sacrifice and its future outlook of promise, co-operation and opportunity, the modern Jordan continues to define the meaning of responsibility. Its contribution to regional peace and global stability has earned it the respect and support that have become part of its political landscape. More important is the solid foundation that has provided for the consolidation of past achievements and for the launching of its future aspirations. Today's Jordan offers a model of political pluralism, respect for democratic rules and human rights, and a free liberal economic structure. It is an example of domestic stability and social harmony secured by peaceful regional relations, and a global context of meaningful economic participation. Above all, it is an embodiment of our determined commitment and vibrant political will to make the future much better than the past, and to make the lives of all Jordanians more productive for their country and their region than ever before. It is a reflection of our insistence upon the rights of the individual and of our promise to increase economic opportunity through our talented human resources. It is a realisation of a true and meaningful partnership where the private sector can participate in shaping the future of coming generations and in assuming the responsibility of social and economic development. It is the Jordan that realises that only through domestic economic and political strength can it continue to perform its role and responsibility towards its region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The fulfilment of our domestic goals will enable us to play the role to which we aspire in shaping the new region and the new reality around us positively. We look forward to the day when we can help our Palestinian brothers reap the benefits of independence and freedom. We are also ready to participate in regional partnerships of security frameworks and economic co-operation models, which are designed to protect and sustain the peace for which we all long. Regional co-operation models in water, energy, and economic integration are necessary instruments for the overall development of the Middle East. These must be based on an assumption of positive interaction to replace the present asymmetry and to bridge the existing gaps. Free and fair competition throughout the region must become the norm if we are to destroy the narrow monopolistic interests that have so far obstructed true regional co-operation. In the global reality of today, and most certainly of tomorrow, short-sighted policies of a mercantilist nature have no place in a world of free trade, open economic structures, and fair competition. Open borders with no barriers to capital investments or to labour movements have provided for success throughout the world and there should be no reason why this cannot also become the case in our region. This is the message that we try to impress upon our regional partners, a message of hope for all our peoples, but equally, one of warning that globalisation and the digital revolution will not wait for the Middle East countries any longer to catch up and join the world. The people of the Middle East, yearning as they do for peace and justice, can accept political compromises. However, they are not ready to be further marginalised in a fast moving world where political borders and symbols of sovereignty are increasingly being overtaken by e-commerce that crosses no borders and that requires no entry visas.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The history and the reality of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have shaped its responsibility and role towards our Palestinian brothers, our Arab brethren, the Islamic world, as well as the entire region. We have fulfilled this role by providing a model of domestic harmony, regional co-operation and above all, an example of peace building in the Middle East. With a new era dawning upon our region and our world, Jordan's model of consolidation of peace, and of effective participation in the new global economic reality, is becoming more significant and, indeed, much more essential, if we are to build a better future for the young generations of the Middle East. We could not have performed such constructive roles in the past without the friendship and understanding of many around us. Given the new challenges of the present, we feel that never before have we so needed support by those in the world who share our dreams and who can help in making them come true. Interdependence in our time signifies the assistance given by others to help a country help itself. We know this too well and we are keen to continue helping ourselves to reach our goal. Through our efforts to strengthen our civil society with viable and functional political institutions and to achieve sustainable economic growth by encouraging private capital and know-how to take advantage of Jordanian opportunities of investment, we are slowly moving towards the achievement of our dreams. The role of countries such as Norway at this stage in our development can be indispensable, particularly in terms of offering technical assistance and of encouraging corporations to come and see what Jordan has to offer. In this way you can support our role and ensure that our model of success will be sustained and be emulated elsewhere in the Middle East.
I thank you for your interest and for your attention, and I look forward to welcoming you in my country where I hope you will see for yourselves a new Jordan making the dream become a reality.
Thank you very much.