Secretary-General's remarks at joint press encounter with H.E. Nasser Judeh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan
Amman, Jordan, 31 January 2012
SG: Thank you, Mr. Foreign Minister, for your very kind words of welcome and hospitality. Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
It is a great honour and pleasure for me to visit Jordan at this crucially important juncture of the Middle East peace process. As I have just begun my second term as Secretary-General, I thought that the most important way for me to contribute to the peace process of the Middle East and as the way to implement one of my five priorities which I have laid out this year, would be to contribute whatever I can to the Middle East peace process.
It is also very important and meaningful for me to begin my visit to this region, starting from Jordan. I would like to highly commend and appreciate the initiative and role of His Majesty King Abdullah and also Foreign Minister Judeh for facilitating these negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians which started only this month.
I hope this will create a momentum to sustain this dialogue process.
Foreign Minister Judeh and I had extensive discussions on the matters of our common concern, most importantly on how we can work together to help promote the Middle East peace process, as was requested by the Quartet statement of September last year.
I am also very happy to visit this region when there are a lot of changes are taking place in the Middle East and, of course, North Africa. I believe that first, reform and transition to democracy should continue to take place. The Arab region has a generational opportunity to create a future it deserves. At this critical juncture, I am committed to supporting Arab countries in transition and the people that struggle for democracy, justice, dignity, human rights and economic opportunity
This also demands that we empower our women and young people.
Dignity and justice in this region are threatened, not only by authoritarian rule, but also by occupation and conflict.
Tomorrow, I will meet the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. A two State solution where Israel and Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security is long overdue. We must all do our part to break this impasse. In that regard, I really, again, highly appreciate the initiative of the leadership of the Jordanian Government.
I hope that the preparatory meetings which have taken place for five rounds of meetings here will continue and will ultimately lead to serious negotiations to reach an agreement for a two State solution by the end of this year, as envisaged by the Quartet.
In the short term, it is essential that provocations stop, as called for by the Quartet and that the parties build confidence and sustain these nascent talks.
Q: Your Excellency, in light of the pessimistic statements by the Israelis and the Palestinians about the peace talks here in Amman – both are already talking about the failure of the peace talks – what kind of support the United Nations can do to change both parties' attitudes towards the peace talks?
SG: On your first question, I think everybody knows how the Middle East process has been going – almost deadlocked and there has been no meeting in last two years, expect these five rounds of meetings initiated by the Jordanian Government. That is why I am urging that we need to seize this momentum. This momentum, created after two years, should be sustained [as much as] possible, then both sides should return to the dialogue table with a sense of strong political will and courage and vision and determined will.
They should speak and they should think about their better future. And it is particularly more so for the Israeli government to [give] some goodwill gestures, so that this meeting can continue. Of course, it will also be required that the Palestinian Authorities come to dialogue table.
That is what I am going to discuss with Israel's leaders and the Palestinian Authority leaders. Of course, I am not going to detail what I am going to discuss from tomorrow. I have an opportunity of expressing my own views, as a result of my discussions, but I am very much committed to do all that I can, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, to help push the process. In that regard, I hope that the Jordanian Government leadership will also continue to play the role they have initiated.