Mr. President,

I wish at the outset to extend to you, Sir, and to your friendly country, the Czech Republic, warm congratulations on your election to the presidency of the General Assembly of the United Nations at its fifty-seventh session. Your record of prudence and diplomatic skills will certainly be instrumental in meeting the lofty goals sought commonly by all of our nations and peoples. A word of thanks and tribute goes to your predecessor, His Excellency Dr. Han Seung-soo, for his capable stewardship of the past session.

Mr. President,

Two states have just been admitted to the membership of our Organization: East Timor and the Swiss Confederation. Despite their diverse backgrounds, each of them will strengthen and enrich the fabric and tapestry of the United Nations. Jordan bids a warm welcome to both of them and wishes them well.

Mr. President,

The opening of the current session coincided with the first anniversary of the heinous terrorist attacks against New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. As I reiterate here Jordan's condemnation of those terrorist acts, let me express once again our deep condolences and sympathies to the families of the thousands of victims who lost their lives as a result of those cowardly and criminal acts which targeted our Organization's host city and host nation. The list of victims is multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural. This fact graphically illustrates that terrorism is indeed blind to all those parameters. However, the international community rose to the occasion when it provided a collective, instant and decisive response. And yes indeed it was the United Nations itself that provided the forum for a global coalition underpinned by bothour common political will and the compelling case on hand. Thus, this Assembly adopted resolution 56/1 while the Security Council passed resolutions 1368 and 1373. This set of decisions embraced by this world body, which represents all human cultures, ideologies and ethnicities, created the official platform for launching the ongoing global campaign against terrorism.

My country, Jordan, has also suffered from terrorism and its evils. Terrorists struck at our national symbols, our citizens and our interests because of our principled positions, foremost among them is our firm commitment to fight terrorism itself. All along, Jordan has been in the vanguard of every international effort aimed at hunting down this plague and dealing with it, including drying up its resources as part of an overall drive to root it out altogether. In parallel, Jordan's stance was clear-cut and decisive. We reject and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We have declared this firm conviction against terrorism in no uncertain terms and irrespective of its source, the perpetrator(s), or the identity of the victims without any discrimination. Furthermore, we allow no room for any justification whatsoever, including all arguments that might be given on religious, ethnic or national identity grounds. Thus Jordan treats all forms of terrorism as criminal acts.

Having said that, yet still in the same context, let me stress our conviction that the eradication of terrorism is a common goal of all our states and societies. Therefore, I wish here to draw this Assembly's attention to some surreptitious tendencies, driven by pernicious and wicked intentions to falsely link terrorism to a specific religion or culture. I trust that this august gathering shares me the view that effective repudiation of these vicious inclinations of bad faith has now become imperative. Indeed, facing up to those insidious schemes is indispensable for maintaining a sustained and concerted campaign to achieve our paramount objective of total eradication of terrorism.

Mr. President,

The current situation in the Middle East region is extremely dangerous. The whole landscape constantly changes to the worse, especially in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel's re-occupation of the Palestinian Authority's territories and the perpetuation of this occupation together with the measures and policies emanating therefrom, especially the policies of closures and siege, have created intolerable living conditions for the Palestinian people. These unbearable conditions have prompted several humanitarian agencies and international organs to declare a state of alert. Israeli measures to strangle the Palestinian people economically and politically with a view to bring it down to its knees and to coerce it into surrendering its rights have reached inadmissible levels of gravity. Rates of malnutrition among the Palestinian population have increased two-fold. Diseases related to malnutrition and famine have become wide-spread especially among children, women and the elderly. The cumulative impact of all these factors has created a breeding ground for frustration and despair which inevitably generate hatred, grudge, and violence. Therefore, this situation must be addressed effectively and expeditiously. We hope that the first move should come from Israel in the form of ending its occupation of Palestinian towns without delay. Also, we expect Israel to cease forthwith its policy of closures and siege. Thinking long-term, we believe it is in Israel's interest to pursue constructive policies towards the Palestinians in order to restore mutual confidence and to rehabilitate the values of reconciliation and coexistence between the two peoples. It is our considered view that Israel's current approach is irrational as it transpires in excessive use of force which in turn fuels and deepens hatred and replenishes the wellspring of violence.

While we welcome the faint signals of relief looming now in the horizon as reflected in the accord reached by the Palestinian and Israeli sides on 19 August 2002, which calls for progressive withdrawal by Israel from certain Palestinian towns that have been re-occupied by Israel, we call on Israel to implement faithfully'and expeditiously Security Couhcil'resolution `1402 which provides for full Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian cities.

While Jordan, from a political and moral point of view, stands against targeting Israeli civilians and concurs with the need to address the whole spectrum of security issues, it, at the same time, maintains that the only viable course for addressing the Palestinian-Israeli question lies in the resumption of the peace process as a whole from the point where it stalled and within the agreed frameworks established on the basis of complete Israeli withdrawals from all Arab territories occupied in 1967, including the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories; the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, pursuant to relevant Security Council resolutions, especially 242, 338, 425 and 1397.

In this context, I wish to stress the significance of the initiative adopted by the Arab leaders at their Beirut Arab Summit last March. That initiative outlined a balanced approach in terms of viable ideas and arguments that demonstrate beyond any doubt a genuine Pan-Arab commitment to just, lasting and comprehensive peace. That plan is a pledge by Arab states to conclude peace agreements with the State of Israel in return for complete withdrawal from the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories to the pre 5 June 1967 border lines, the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem its capital, and finding a just and agreed solution to the Palestinian refugees question on the basis of relevant U.N. resolutions. I trust that the Government of Israel will rise to the level of hopes and aspirations of the Arab peoples and the people of Israel to live in peace, justice and dignity. It is my fervent hope that the Government of Israel will be forthcoming in response to that balanced and sincere initiative which won favour from all states and parties interested in the peace process. Furthermore, this initiative is also in line with the vision and commitment outlined by His Excellency President George W. Bush of the United States of America on the form and aim of a final solution on the Palestinian-Israeli track based on the establishment of an' independent Palestinian state side by side with The State of Israel by mid 2005- at the latest.

In this regard, Jordan supports efforts being made to draw up a clear road map leading to the implementation of President Bush's commitment, through:

1. Defining the obligations of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides;
2. Setting a clear time line for all phases of carrying out those obligations so that the deadline for the birth of the independent Palestinian state will not, under any circumstances, go beyond mid 2005; and
3. Agreeing to the creation of an international supervisory mechanism that ensures the timely and orderly putting in place of those measures as well as monitoring the implementation process.

We hope that this scenario will be examined in the Quartet meeting in New York within the next few days with a view to adopt it into a plan of action and a comprehensive international obligation. Subsequently, the parties will embark on the implementation process within the specified framework the outcome of which will be the establishment of the independent Palestinian state within less than three years. We also hope that this achievement will generate a fresh impetus to conclude comprehensive peace on the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks within the same time frame.

Mr. President,

Out of our compliance with the United Nations principles enshrined in the Charter, particularly Article 2, point 4, which prohibits the use or threat of use of force in international relations, while giving this right exclusively to the Security Council so that the Council might exercise it in case of a breach of international peace and security, Jordan believes that the most appropriate means of resolving the outstanding matters between the -United Nations and Iraq is to ensure the immediate and full implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions, including those relating to Kuwaiti prisoners and missing persons as well as to the return of the weapons inspectors. If these conditions are met the people of Iraq, who have been suffering for too long, would be saved from military action which will aggravate that suffering. The aforesaid formula would also spare the entire region from the dire consequences of military operations.

In the context of emphasizing the principle of resolving disputes by peaceful means, we invite the Islamic Republic of Iran to be responsive to the call made by the United Arab Emirates to reach a peaceful settlement of the problem of the three islands. We urge Iran to accept referral of this case to the international Court of Justice. We also encourage the efforts made by the two sides in Cyprus to reach a just and peaceful solution of the Cypriot question. We also call for a peaceful resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Certainly, this Assembly will support and strengthen those efforts.

Mr. President,

Jordan recognizes the nature of the transformations that have taken place in international relations and on the global landscape over the past decade. Thus, we stress the need for the United Nations to adapt accordingly through effective streamlining so that it maintains its relevance as the primary international forum for global cooperation in all human fields. A robust United Nations would also remain the true embodiment of the hopes and aspirations of all mankind.

Here, I wish to pay special tribute to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, for the insight, dynamism and flexibility he brings into play while performing his duties. Those fine personal qualities do enhance his impressive performance which Jordan supports and appreciates.

In closing, I would like to warmly welcome the establishment of the International Criminal Court and the entry into force of its Statute. Our expectation is that the Court will reinforce the great principles and purposes of the United Nations itself. Let me underline our absolute support for all efforts aiming at strengthening the United Nations system and its revitalization, including the ongoing structural reform exercise and the review of Security Council membership with a view to its expansion in order to make it more representative of the new international realities on the ground.

Finally, I wish this Assembly success in its deliberations. Thank you, Mr. President.