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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General’s press conference in Jordan [with Q&A]

Amman, Jordan, 27 March 2016

Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, Minister of Planning, Imad Fakhoury, ladies and gentlemen of the press,

It is a great pleasure to visit Jordan again. Amman is really a city [that is] a centre of activities and diplomacy and I really thank you for all your strong support for the United Nations, working together with the United Nations.

I thank you very much for your very kind words about my case as Secretary-General but it’s a little bit early to get the farewell remarks. I still have nine months to go and I assure you that I will spare no effort, until the very last day of my mandate as Secretary-General, December 31 this year. I will do my best for world peace and security, human rights and development.

That is why I continue to come [to Jordan].

Earlier today, I had an audience with His Majesty King Abdullah and also met with Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour. And before that, altogether with Dr. Kim, I visited Zaatari camp for the second time.

I was here at the beginning of the establishment of Zaatari camp and I saw a lot of difference: first of all, much more people, unfortunately, are there without being able to return. At the same time, I saw lots of activities, signs of life. I could find everything which you may have in the centre of Amman city. Even a theatre was there, not to mention shopping centres and restaurants and sports centres. However nice all those facilities may be, it is not the same as what they could enjoy home in Syria.

In that regard, we are deeply grateful for your warm heart and compassion for those people… the generosity which the Government and people of Jordan have been so generously extending to these people. We are working very hard and I really appreciate your strong support.

There, we met, we had some brief dialogue with a 9th grade very young girl whose name was Zad Al-Khair, who fled from Dera’a. I asked her: What’s your dream? In fact Dr. Kim asked. And she said: I want to be an interpreter. So I told her, the United Nations has many simultaneous interpreters, you can be a good interpreter for simultaneous translation between Arabic and English, English to Arabic.

From her face, we were able to see her dreams and aspirations. That really motivated me and we thought again that we should do much more for these young young people.

In all my meetings with His Majesty and Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, we expressed strong support and gratitude for the humanity and hospitality of Lebanese and Jordanian people.

Also, I thanked and asked his Majesty and Deputy Prime Minister to do much more for the Middle East Peace Process which has been stalled for a long time. The peace and stability in the Middle East has greater global implications. That is why we are very much concerned that without any dialogue and with continuing violence, daily, we can’t give any hope to the Palestinian people. I had again a good meeting with President Abbas in Amman this afternoon.

On Syria, the continuing cessation of hostilities provides us with a good opportunity and momentum for continuing dialogue between the Syrian parties, and also for the United Nations and the humanitarian agencies to deliver life-saving support to may besiegd people and refugees. That’s what we are continuing to do.

President Kim and I are encouraged by the response of the international community at the recent conference in London – that was the largest ever. I had convened up to this year four such international conferences: three times in Kuwait and last time in London. That was the most successful one but I believe we need to do much more.

That is why we are going to convene this World Humanitarian meeting, which will be the first-ever in the history of the United Nations, to discuss and to bring out some predictable sustainable framework to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 120 million people around the world, including Syrian refugees, including many helpless, defenceless people around the world.

We strongly support the proposals by the Government of Jordan to bridge humanitarian assistance and development aid, and the vision of turning support for refugees into a development opportunity. In that regard, I highly appreciate and commend the vision of President Kim of the World Bank Group to bring about some innovative financial support.

Supporting refugees is not enough: we need to support the communities and economies that are hosting them, and strengthen the local services that are sustaining them.

This is one of the priority areas we are going to discuss continuously with world leaders, including at the World Humanitarian meeting.

We also discussed, as the Deputy Prime Minister said, the fight against Daesh, that we have to have everybody commitment and solidarity, working together. I really appreciate the coalition partners, including Jordan, you have suffered a lot, and we really appreciate send condolences for those who were killed.

At the same time, we need to have a good solution in preventing this extremism and terrorism, at their root causes. We can find much more sustainable way to address this [issue]. For that, we need to provide decent job opportunities and social political opportunities for women and young people, giving them a sense of hope, commitment and engagement.
That is why I have appointed a very young Jordanian as Youth Envoy of the United Nations. This is again a first-ever position, for which I have appointed Ahmad Alhendawi, he is a proud Jordanian.

Now, Deputy Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, talking about youth leadership: in the history of the United Nations Security Council, we have seen a very young Jordanian, at the age of 21, becoming the Chair of a Security Council meeting which adopted a landmark resolution on youth, peace and [security] – Security Council resolution 2250. That was done by His Royal Highness Crown Prince of Jordan. You should be very proud of their contribution for the youth cause, of His Royal Highness and also of Special Envoy on Youth.

Lastly, Friday’s horrific bomb attack in Iskanderiyeh, south of Baghdad, and this week’s appalling events in Brussels show how urgently we need to work together to forge a new global partnership to prevent and end terrorism and violent extremism.

I also thank His Majesty and the Government of Jordan for your country’s help in addressing the root causes of conflict through action on climate change, sustainable development and the empowerment of women and young people.

I particularly commend Jordan’s role, together with the United Nations, in working together for world peace and security, development and human rights. And I thank you for your leadership

Question on Palmyra being retrieved by the Syrian Army.

Secretary-General: ISIS extremists and terrorist have been not only killing people, they have been destroying the human civilization’s heritage, thousand, thousand year long heritage. [This heritage] should be a common asset of the whole humanity, [whether] it belongs to Syria or elsewhere.

In that regard, we are encouraged and fortunate that the Syrian Government Forces have been able to retrieve, defeat ISIS from Palmyra and are now able to preserve and protect these human common cultural assets. And I am also encouraged by their announcement that they will try to not preserve or protect, but trying to restore. I hope they will be able to do that.

Wherever this historical heritage may be located, it must be used for our coming generations, for lessons and inspiration of coming generations. In that regard, I am urging again all the people around the world, whoever or wherever one may be, to protect and preserve these common assets of humanity.

Thank you.