HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ABDEL-ELAH KHATIB
MINISTER OF FOREIGN
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
I wish first to congratulate you, Sir, and your friendly country on your election as president of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly. Let me also pay tribute to your predecessor, H.E. Mr. Harri Holkeri for his able stewardship of the last session.
Furthermore, I want to avail myself of this occasion to extend warm congratulations to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, on his reelection for a second term of office as well as on his well-deserved award jointly with the United Nations Organization of the Nobel Prize for Peace. That was an acknowledgement of Mr. Annan's remarkable track record in serving the objectives and purposes of the Charter and a symbolic token of recognition of the centrality and relevance of the vital role of the United Nations in the world community.
This great city which hosts our world organization, along with the United States of America and its people have been struck by a cowardly terrorist attack that targeted innocent civilians. In truth, this act of aggression was committed not just against the United States but, in fact, against the entire international community and humanity as well. For it seems that the larger objective of the evil and dark forces which planned and executed those atrocities was the terrorization and intimidation of all of us and the precipitation of a worldwide cultural and religious confrontation. Their aim was to undermine and shatter our sense of common confidence and the bonds that unite us by stripping us of our own sense of security and driving us to deal with each other in an atmosphere of mistrust, fear and hatred.
One of the too many painful impacts of those terrorist attacks is that they demonstrated the depth of interdependence in our modern life. The repercussions went beyond the United States. The victims belonged to dozens of nationalities, including Jordanians, and all of us almost instantly felt the negative economic effects.
Thus the fight against terrorism should be comprehensive. This means forging a unity of purpose coupled with our firm resolve to win this war on all fronts. It also means exercising care and caution so that we would not fall into the trap set up by the terrorists. Indeed, our war against terrorism is neither a religious war, nor should it turn into a clash between one civilization and another or even between one nation against another.
On the eleventh of September last, Jordan reaffirmed its long-standing and clear position which is anchored in its firm policy of rejecting the use of terrorism as a means in international relations, irrespective of any argument advanced, pretext invoked or label given. Thus, His Majesty King Abdullah II declared Jordan's categorical condemnation of the terrorist attacks perpetrated against the United States and Jordan's support for the international effort against terrorism. In the same vein, His Majesty expressed resolve to safeguard the sanctity of the Islamic faith from any abuse or distortion caused by terrorism or terrorists, insisting that terrorists must be deprived of any opportunity to hijack religion and to misuse it to serve their purposes or advance their agenda. In particular, terrorists must be barred from provoking a confrontation between Islam and the rest of the world.
Suppression and defeat of those pernicious schemes requires, among other things, enhancement of understanding among peoples and cultures. It also demands a genuine respect for cultural diversity. Human pluralism should, ideally, be a force of enrichment and inspiration for the community of nations. The world is perhaps pressed now more than ever to launch a meaningful dialogue among civilizations that highlights common denominators with a view to promote tolerance and reinforce our abilities to coexist and interact in peace and harmony. The United Nations system remains the appropriate framework and venue for such a proposition.
Islam and Muslims all along their history have enriched human civilization. The contributions of Muslim scholars in law, science, literature and culture in general were at their best due to a climate of open-mindedness, tolerance and pluralism established by Islam.
We in Jordan take pride in the true co-existence and integration of our community life which has been fashioned over the past fourteen centuries. Muslims and Christians live side by side in national unity, where religious pluralism constitutes a positive factor, making Jordanian society perhaps a good example of social harmony and interaction.
Terrorism will exploit the absence of justice and political, economic and social imbalances, to advance its goals. Therefore, addressing the main causes of despair, frustration and sense of injustice in a serious manner is perhaps the most effective way to confront terrorism and preempt its potential appeal and support.
We recognize that a truly effective international effort to eradicate terrorism primarily requires, as far as the Middle East region is concerned, a just and acceptable resolution of the question of Palestine, the long-running implications of which on the ground remain the chief source of pain and suffering across the region.
The current situation of constant killings and destruction as a result of Israel's practices of using force against the Palestinian people and the siege of their towns and communities constitute a constant incitement- that feeds escalation in a way that endangers security and stability throughout the whole region.
Jordan firmly believes that the resolution of this conflict will not be possible by the use force or by security and coercive measures. There is really no alternative before the two sides but to return to the negotiating table as equal partners and to seek a settlement that ensures their legitimate rights and their destiny. This option will remain elusive until parallel mutual steps are adopted on the basis of the accords and obligations agreed upon by both the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
His Majesty King Abdullah II has been engaged in enormous efforts to help the region break out of the vicious circle engulfing it because of the ongoing confrontations between the two sides. King Abdullah has contributed positively to the intense international contacts and efforts to achieve that goal. Those endeavors, however, have led now to the building of a full international consensus on the requirements needed to break the current deadlock. Those requirements include, in the first place, an end to the use of the Israeli military machine against the Palestinian people, lifting the blockade imposed on them, abandoning the assassinations policy and the incursions into areas under the control of the Palestinian National Authority.
Implementing those steps would set out an appropriate entry to start the implementation of the recommendations of the Mitchell Commission, the thrust of which is to create favourable conditions that allow return to the negotiating table.
Ten years after the Madrid Peace Conference, the region is seething with frustration over failure to reach the long-awaited peace. People there are no longer satisfied by the mere existence of a peace process. Therefore, the revival of the peace process in itself is no longer tenable in the absence of a genuinely meaningful effort that translates into concrete progress on the road to peace.
Prolonged confrontations have resulted not only in failure to carry out several obligations agreed upon but also in retreating from undertakings that were already in place. This demonstrates that phased and interim agreements are inadequate and ineffective to address the status quo. Therefore, starting the final status negotiations has become now a pressing priority in order to achieve the principal objective of the peace process, namely the fulfillment of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of their viable independent state on their homeland as well as guaranteeing the security of Israel.
Peace that can be acceptable to the peoples of the region must be comprehensive in terms of resolving, on the one hand, the whole array of major issues, namely: the occupied territories, Jerusalem, the refugees, security and weapons of mass destruction, and economic cooperation; and, on the other hand, to include all tracks and the states concerned.
Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 remain the basis of the peace process. Their implementation requires putting in place the true components of peace, primarily: the renunciation of the settlement policy which contradicts the "land for peace" principle and is in itself a flagrant breach of international law. Peace and settlements are mutually exclusive.
Holy Jerusalem is key to peace. It is an occupied Palestinian territory subject to the application of resolution 242 which aims to achieve Israeli withdrawal therefrom, and from the rest of the Palestinian territories -- which were occupied in 1967 -- so that Jerusalem will become the capital of the State of Palestine. In addition, an appropriate formula will have to be worked out to ensure the entire city of Jerusalem be open, where freedom of worship for all will be safeguarded, and to make the city a factor of unity and reconciliation among all the believers in God.
The issue of refugees represents the worst form of injustice and frustration in the conflict. Justice must be secured for the Palestinian refugees in order to eliminate the greatest source of frustration and suffering in the region. Jordan, time and again, has made clear its firm position in relation to the question of refugees here in this Assembly. Let me emphasize that Jordan will accept only a solution of the question of refugees that takes fully into account its rights and interests as a state as well as the rights and interests of its citizens and on the basis of international law and all relevant UN resolutions.
Lack of trust between the two sides precludes their ability to achieve any progress without an active involvement by a third party. Jordan welcomes the declaration by President George Bush of the endorsement of a solution which ensures the existence of two states, including the establishment of a Palestinian state on the Palestinian territory currently occupied by Israel, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions. This announcement completes the international consensus on the fundamental requirement to achieve peace in the region. It is our hope that the efforts of the United States will continue with support from the countries of the European Union, Russia, and the international community as a whole, to reach that goal.
In the same vein, a comprehensive peace must include an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian territories, back to the fourth of June 1967 lines, and the completion of withdrawal from all the remaining occupied Lebanese territories on the basis of relevant Security Council resolutions.
The suffering of Iraq and its people under the international sanctions imposed on them for over eleven years is yet another source of frustration and tension in our region. Jordan once again stresses the need to lift those sanctions and the importance of creating conditions that would allow Iraq to reclaim its active regional and international role. In the meantime, Jordan emphasizes the importance of completing the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, including those relating to the Kuwaiti prisoners and other missing persons.
Jordan hopes to see soon an end to the plight of the people of Afghanistan so that this nation and its political forces will be able to agree on the form of government that represents the country. We also hope that the world community will mount a massive effort to assist them in facing the tragic economic conditions that have been afflicting them for too many years.
At this juncture in human history when we see a surge in global challenges, it becomes even more imperative to rally around the United Nations and to comply more faithfully with the principles and purposes of its Charter, especially those relating to the peaceful resolution of disputes and on the basis of international law.
It is also important not to abandon our collective goals in terms of promoting peace, economic development, and respect for human rights. This trilateral platform of action represents Jordan's national domestic and foreign agenda.
Our relentless pursuit of a just peace in our region has not disrupted our determined efforts to seek economic, social and political development. Quite the opposite, Jordan is now poised to embark on a new integrated enterprise that seeks more economic growth in order to improve the living conditions of its population and to open up new vistas of hope and promise to our future generations. Indeed the dignity and welfare of the individual human being must always remain at the core of our national and international endeavours.