31 January 2012

Remarks at dinner hosted by the Foreign Minister of Jordan

Ban Ki-moon

It is a great honour for me, my delegation and my wife, to be honoured by this great occasion where I am sitting together with such a distinguished leadership who are running this country and who are working very closely with the United Nations. I have been working very closely with Foreign Minister [Nasser] Judeh and I have been often benefitting from the wisdom and far-sighted vision of His Majesty King Abdullah as Secretary-General of the United Nations. In fact, it dates back to even before, when I was Foreign Minister. I had the extraordinary honour of meeting and having an audience with His Majesty.

This is my fifth time to visit Amman in my career, starting from 1981, then in 2004, then three times as Secretary-General. So I have a very deep, personal relationship. And my daughter in fact used to work in Amman until two years ago. She is now somewhere else. Therefore I have a very good memory here in Amman. I am very much grateful for such strong support and contribution of Jordan to the United Nations' work.

Jordan may be a small country in size, but in terms of its contributions and the horizon you are expanding in diplomatic international politics, you are a great country. You provide almost 5,000 soldiers and police officers. I know that in terms of police, you are the largest police-contributing country among all 193 member states, and I have been often meeting your proud soldiers whenever I was visiting missions.

You are also providing very distinguished human resources to the cause of the United Nations. Currently, we have Dr. Rima Khalaf who is the head of ESCWA [Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia], and you have Mr. Taleb Rifai who is the head of [the World Tourism Organization], one of the specialized UN agencies. And we have the distinguished Prime Minister who served as a very distinguished judge of the International Court of Justice. I had the honour of already meeting him in 2007 when I visited the ICJ as Secretary General. These are just some small examples of how the Jordanian Government and people are contributing and working together with the United Nations.

This time, I am visiting Jordan on more serious issues affecting the peace and security in this region or even the world, or affecting the fundamental principle of democracy which is now sweeping, or has swept, across the Middle East and North Africa. We are deeply troubled by what is happening in Syria. I know that Jordan is one of the very few countries that are, and that will be, affected most for all security, peace, refugees, economic and social issues. In that regard, I am deeply grateful for your generosity and broad mindedness and broad heart, accommodating two million Palestinians and many more, hundreds of thousands of refugees - Syrian and Iraqi refugees. I have been expressing my appreciation for accommodating Iraqi refugees. Now, I have to thank you again for accommodating Syrian people who are fleeing from persecution. This is a common responsibility. I do not want to leave Jordan to bear this burden alone. That is why I am here. And I am going to begin my Middle East tour starting from here because I really wanted to pay my respects and get another opportunity for benefitting myself from the wisdom and visions of His Majesty. I had a good meeting with His Majesty, His Excellency the Prime Minister and also the Foreign Minister. This will strengthen my capacity from tomorrow in dealing with leaders of Israel and the Palestinians, and I will do my best to contribute to the Middle East peace process. After all, we are working for the same goals – peace, development, security and human rights. These are our common goals.

As I am just beginning my second term as Secretary-General, you can count on me and I am even more committed to serve this great organization for the benefit of all the international community.

Again, I thank you very much for this honour and hospitality, starting very early this morning and [all] day. I am leaving tomorrow, but I am sure I will come back again. I wish you all the best and I would like to strongly wish that the partnership between Jordan and the United Nations will ever be strengthened and I wish continued success and prosperity for this great nation, Jordan.

Thank you very much. Shukran.