Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocol observed,

I thank Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah, as well as the people and government of Jordan, for hosting this timely meeting.

Your Majesty, it has been a pleasure to work with you across the decades, from my time as Prime Minister of Portugal through my years as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and now in my present capacity.

You have always been a champion of peace.

And you have been a voice for inter-religious coexistence and mutual respect – as recognized by the awarding of the Templeton Prize for 2018. And I was honoured to join you on that occasion.

And you have been an ally of people in need in and beyond the region.

Indeed, as we all know, Jordan has demonstrated exceptional generosity to people fleeing conflict and upheaval in Palestine, in Syria and elsewhere, with an enormous impact on Jordan’s economy and society.

Two years ago, I visited the Zaatari camp for the fifth time and once again saw Jordan’s generosity in action.

This meeting of the World Economic Forum builds on other gatherings earlier this year, in London and Brussels, which marked the start of a new partnership approach between Jordan and the international community in pursuit of sustainable growth and self-reliance.

In light of the pressures on the country, Jordan deserves strong solidarity from the international community.

But let me also stress the bigger picture and brighter narrative: beyond the impacts linked to the Syrian crisis, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, Jordan is also a country with large investment opportunities for private sector-led growth.

/…

Excellencies,

This is indeed a critical moment for the region.

The United Nations is deeply engaged in a surge of diplomacy for peace – not always successful I must confess – to untie the Gordian knot of conflict and instability.

Resolving the region’s conflicts is an imperative – including the
two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders, and with Jerusalem as capital of the two countries.

/…