STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR. MARWAN MUASHER
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE HASHEMITE KINGDOM OF JORDAN
BEFORE THE FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED
NEW YORK, 29 SEPTEMBER 2003
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May I begin by extending warm congratulations
to you, Sir, on your election as President of the fifty-eight session
of the General Assembly. Let me assure you of the full cooperation of
Jordan's delegation to ensure fulfillment of your mandate. Our thanks
and appreciation go to your predecessor, H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan, for his remarkable
stewardship of the previous session.
A Special tribute is due to Mr. Kofi Annan,
Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his dedicated efforts to
uphold the lofty goals of our Organization. Mr. Annan has been quite dynamic
in his efforts to enhance the
effectiveness of this world body and to revitalize its functions, especially
in the areas of peace and security, human rights and social and economic
progress across the globe.
On a sombre note, I wish to express our
heartfelt condolences to the Secretary-General as well as to the families
of Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello and all his colleagues who lost their lives
as a result of the terrorist bombing of the United Nations headquarters
in Baghdad. That barbaric act drew universal condemnation.
The sad collapse of the Oslo process has
demonstrated that revival of the Middle East peace process under the previous
terms was no longer a viable option. Peace-making in the region requires
a new modus operandi as all transitional arrangements and interim solutions
failed to establish and build mutual confidence between the two sides
and meet the envisioned goals. Thus, time has indeed come to a shift in
approach. Instead of managing the conflict in a way that so far led to
a perpetuation of the cycle of violence, our focus should be redirected
onto the final objectives of the negotiations. Furthermore, it is no longer
useful to concentrate only on the security aspects without bearing in
mind the fact that the problem, in its essence, is political in nature
and not just a question of security.
It was against this backdrop that the United
States President, George W. Bush, launched in June 2002 his vision for
peace in the Middle East. On the basis of that initiative, the Road Map
was crafted and proclaimed. Jordan contributed to the development of the
Road Map which generated a real turnaround in the political landscape
of the region. It established a framework of reciprocal obligations, the
thrust of which is to end the Israeli occupation and the establishment
of an independent Palestinian state on the basis of relevant United Nations
resolutions and the Arab peace initiative. The Road Map set a specific
time frame of three years for the birth of the Palestinian State. Furthermore,
it provided for the creation of a monitoring and assessment mechanism
to ensure viable implementation against specific time lines.
It was on the basis of this vision that
the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan welcomed the Road Map when it was formally
put out by the Quartet. At the time, we expressed the hope that this drive
would. restart the peace process, though, this time, on a more solid foundation.
However, Jordan also made it quite clear that a declaration in itself
and by itself would be insufficient for movement towards our destination.
What was additionally required, we argued, is a genuine commitment on
the part of the United States and the international community to implement
that vision. True to our expectations, we felt indeed such genuine commitment
transpiring at the two recent Sharm-el-Sheikh and Aqaba summits.
Jordan, in the mean time, fully recognizes
that the recent developments on the ground, especially the collapse of
the ceasefire (hudna) arrangement between the Palestinian groups and Israel,
do create severe tests and even high risks for the Road Map trajectory.
Nonetheless, we all must not lose our spirits. We should stay the course
with a view to implement the Road Map and to put an end to occupation
and to the tragic killing of civilians on both the Palestinian and Israeli
sides. The hard work, the patience and perseverance we are all committing
in this exercise, despite the recurring bumps, lapses and frustrations
that we encounter, are worthwhile investments given the potential risk
of failure in delivery. Another fade away of prospects of a meaningful
hope would drag us squarely in the face of a much more dangerous and complex
scenario that perils the interests and security of all players.
Having said that, I wish from this world
podium to urge, on behalf of Jordan, all stakeholders, especially members
of the Quartet, to pursue their efforts towards a scrupulous implementation
of the Road Map without any modifications and in a way that ensures the
establishment of a Palestinian state by the year 2005, with Jerusalem
its capital, and the termination of the Israeli occupation of all.the
Arab territories occupied in 1967. All this will be in line with the United
Nations resolutions and the Arab peace initiative, both of which constitute
a key component of the Road Map and provide a framework for peace. A peace
that is acceptable to all peoples of the region. A peace that fulfills
their long-standing aspirations.
In the same vein, we urge acceleration in
the creation and deployment of an effective political and security monitoring
mechanism to be operated by the Quartet. This is essential to ensure strict
implementation of and compliance with respective obligations on the part
of both parties as set forth in the Road Map. This mechanism, to us, is
an essential component that we insist on for we consider it to be the
true point of departure that would allow a favorable utilization of the
historic window of opportunity still available to bring about the comprehensive,
just and lasting peace the entire Middle East yearns for.
By way of emphasis regarding suicide attacks,
I wish to reiterate that Jordan took a position that repudiates and condemns
these acts on both moral and political grounds. We maintain that these
operations have done harm to the Palestinian cause and resulted in the
erosion of international sympathy with it. Furthermore, they diverted
world public focus from the core question of the Israeli occupation of
Palestinian territories and the pressing need for ending this occupation.
Along the same lines, we condemn the extra-judicial killings by Israel
of Palestinian citizens. The prevailing atmosphere of violence will play
only into the hands of extremists on both sides of the divide.
It is also high time to take bold and expeditious
steps in order to put back the entire peace process on an irreversible
We call upon Israel to change its current
security policy which has failed in ensuring security for the Israelis.
Rather, Israel should move towards restoration of confidence with its
partner side so that both would focus on the peace process by engagement
in a business-like implementation of the Road Map. To this end, Israel
must take measures to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people by
lifting the closures on Palestinian communities, removing the restrictions
imposed on the Palestinian leadership and by withdrawing its military
forces from the cities occupied since September 2000 in pursuance of Security
Council resolution 1402.
In the same context, my Government condemns
the decision in principle taken by the Government of Israel to remove
outside the occupied Palestinian territories the Palestinian President,
Yasser Arafat, who was legitimately elected by his people. In our view,
this decision is a serious peril to the peace process. We call on the
Government of Israel to reverse its decision which, otherwise, will plunge
the entire region into a dangerous tunnel.
Jordan condemns the Israeli settlement activities
which take the form of unabated construction of settlements on occupied
Palestinian land. Israel must end these activities which breach the basic
norms of international law, let alone impede the ongoing efforts to put
the peace process back on track. The Government of Israel is demanded
to start dismantling all settlements erected since April 2001 for this
is, after all, a binding obligation in Phase I of the Road Map.
We also condemn the "Separation Wall"
which consolidates Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, devours
further Palestinian land, aggravates the suffering of the Palestinian
population and imposes a fait accompli on the future shape of the Palestinian
State. While we demand Israel to cease forthwith from the construction
of the wall, we stress the need to respect the status of the 4 June 1967
I wish now to avail myself of this occasion
to outline the position of my Government regarding the question of the
Palestinian refugees hosted by Jordan and whose number is in excess of
one million and seven hundred thousand refugees registered with UNRWA.
The Government of Jordan emphasizes the
importance of reaching an agreed solution to the question of the Palestinian
refugees on the basis of United Nations General Assembly resolution 194
and the Arab Peace Initiative and in a way that safeguards the right of
return and compensation for the Palestinian refugees. An agreed solution
must also preserve all the related rights of the countries hosting the
The Government of Jordan annually disburses
more than U.S. $400 million on education services, health care, infrastructure
and social welfare for the Palestinian refugees in order to help improve
their living conditions in 13 refugee camps throughout Jordan. We also
try to offset any deficiencies in UNRWA services due to its budgetary
Therefore, it is essential to maintain UNRWA
operations until a final settlement is achieved for the question of Palestinian
refugees with all its implications. At this juncture, may I appeal to
all donor countries to pay their pledges to UNRWA. And in the very same
breath I wish to express our appreciation and gratitude for their gracious
support for UNRWA. In regard to the UNRWA resolutions to be taken up by
this session of the General Assembly, we hope that the texts will be developed
with a view to ensure optimal benefit for the question of the Palestinian
refugees. To this end, Jordan will cooperate fully with all parties concerned.
May I move now to the question of Iraq.
Iraq has now entered a new phase during
which the brotherly people of that country are facing enormous hardships
and challenges. The eyes of all Iraqis are now set on the international
community in the hope to receive every possible assistance that would
enable them to forge ahead in laying a solid foundation for building a
promising future. They look forward to rebuilding a new Iraq. An Iraq
that reclaims its proper and legitimate status as an active Arab member
in this Organization and within the community of nations.
I wish to emphasize the need to safeguard
the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq; to ensure the
withdrawal of the foreign occupation forces as quickly as possible; and
to enable the people of Iraq to determine their future by themselves.
Therefore, we welcomed the formation of the transitional Governing Council
as a first and important step towards the composition of a broad-based
government that represents the full spectrum of the Iraqi population,
to be elected by the people of Iraq as expeditiously as possible on the
basis of a constitution accepted and endorsed by the people of Iraq. Against
this backdrop, we decided to deal positively with the Governing Council
as well as with all political affiliations in Iraq. In this context, let
me elaborate that my Government has accepted the assumption, on a temporary
basis, by the representatives of the transitional Iraqi government of
the seat of Iraq in the League of Arab States on the understanding that
Iraq will subsequently move towards the drafting of the constitution of
Iraq and the holding of elections leading to the formation of a representative
We must also emphasize our condemnation
of the violations of human rights and international law committed by the
previous regime in Iraq, especially the crimes of physical liquidation,
mass killings and mass burials, including the execution of Kuwaiti prisoners
At this juncture, I wish to underline the
central role the United Nations must continue to undertake in Iraq. The
United Nations should remain an active player in the forthcoming political
process. Its role should not be restricted to humanitarian issues. Our
Organization must assume the leading role in overseeing the political
process in the forthcoming stage, including the finalization of the drafting
of the constitution and supervision of the elections to be held in order
to form a sovereign Iraqi government.
Jordan condemns in the strongest possible
terms the cowardly terrorist attack against the United Nations headquarters
in Baghdad. Despite the immense tragedy suffered by the United Nations,
we do have trust in the resolve and ability of the United Nations system
to maintain its operations and services in the interest of the Iraqi people.
The Jordanian Embassy complex in Baghdad was also a target of another
vicious terrorist assault which claimed many innocent lives. Nonetheless,
that appalling act reinforced our resolve to persist in reaching out with
every possible help to our brothers in Iraq in order to enable them overcome
the overwhelming odds they have been enduring.
As it unfolds, terrorism has shown that
it really is a global evil that cuts across national boundaries. We have
seen in graphic details that it is not exclusive to a particular region,
culture, faith or race. It is therefore imperative for all members and
institutions of the world community to combat it all the way until it
is stemmed from its roots.
Let me assure you, Mr. President, that the
Government and people of Jordan are determined in their resolve to confront
this epidemic which our citizens and institutions suffered from for several
decades. Once again, let me reiterate our firm commitment to cooperate
with all countries and multilateral efforts in the joint fight against
In this regard, we would like to set on
record our full backing for the efforts aimed at achieving meaningful
progress in the current negotiations in the General Assembly to adopt
a comprehensive convention on combating terrorism and a convention on
combating nuclear terrorism. We hope that these endeavors will prove successful
in the establishment of a legal and specific definition of the concept
of terrorism which would set it apart from the rights protected under
international law and international humanitarian law for States, peoples
May I commend the Counter Terrorism Committee
and the Commission on Sanctions Against Al-Qaeda and Taliban for all their
aid to member states in fighting terrorism. Jordan looks forward for further
cooperation with these two bodies.
For out part, Jordan repudiates all vicious
falsehoods and sinister campaigns to smear Arabs and Muslims with the
label of terrorism. All fairminded and level-headed people know the true
nature and meaning of the Islamic faith which is anchored in the values
of justice, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and inherent reverence for
the person of the human being. Thus, we feel more than ever a pressing
need to pay due attention to the significance and relevance of the dialogue
among civilizations. Indeed, inter-cultural dialogues promofe understanding
and coexistence among peoples and nations. They also help in dissipating
the causes of extremism and bigotry which usually emanate from and fester
in the lack of a genuine knowledge and comprehension of the essence of
any creed and culture. For sure, the history of Jordan over the millennia
is a true testimony to the advocacy of peace, human understanding and
The political and economic developments
that are unfolding under the shadow of globalization and in the information
technology era prompt us to accelerate the political and economic openness
process in the developing countries. This will help in the evolution of
stronger incentives for achieving further progress and stability. Such
an environment will be more amenable for economic growth and the generation
of a stronger momentum to eradicate poverty and misery as we strive towards
the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals.
In this context, democracy assumes a special
relevance, especially if its essence is perceived as an inherent process
that must naturally evolve within the peculiar fabric of each society
and culture. Therefore, it is virtually untenable to impose on others
this concept in prescribed forms that might not be in concert with the
cultural genetics of these communities.
In Jordan, however, we are committed to
pursue the path of democratic reforms and development of the national
political process in all its aspects. In point of fact, this issue is
quite high on our national agenda. Our expectation, indeed hope, is that
further progress will be made in the enhancement of our democratic institutions.
Bearing this in mind, Jordan will be guided
by the conclusions outlined in the extremely valuable UNDP report on Human
Development in the Arab World. We are grateful to the UNDP and its team
of Arab experts for their analytical method in identifying and profiling
some pressing challenges currently facing the Arab World. Jordan views
this publication with great interest and perceives it from an extremely
positive prism given its merits in terms of data, analytical approach,
sense of purpose, as well as its conclusions recommendations. We are now
even more determined to address these challenges in the hope of seeking
long term solutions.
The importance and relevance of the United
Nations as a world system that seeks the promotion of political, economic
and social progress, the maintenance and consolidation of international
peace and security, is growing steadily as the whole world continues to
face mounting global problems. That is why we believe that universal dialogue
should be undertaken in earnest in order to work out the rational parameters
of the United Nations reform. Our primary purpose should focus on how
to improve the United Nations performance in all spheres of its operations,
including in particular, strengthening its role in preventive diplomacy,
management of humanitarian crises, conflicts and wars, and human rights
violations, in addition to the challenges associated with globalization
and the evolution of human kind.
In this regard, Jordan welcomes the entry
of the International Criminal Court into a new phase in terms of election
of judges and the Prosecutor of the Court as a further step towards the
evolution of the international judiciary system and the treatment of violations
of the international humanitarian law. As you are all aware, Jordan had
the privilege of working hard and making significant contributions in
supporting the creation of the Court and the entry of its Statute into
In the same vein, Jordan takes pride in
the election of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah to the Governing Council
of the Trust Fund for the Victims of Crimes falling under the Jurisdiction
of the International Criminal Court. This Fund is expected to have a tangible
impact in alleviating the anguish of the victims of the most horrifying
crimes and their families.
With regard to the United Nations peacekeeping
operations, Jordan continues to attach great importance to this area of
activity by the United Nations system. We are proud and privileged to
participate along with other member states in these global operations
in the areas that have been afflicted with war, conflict and instability.
However, to ensure an effective and complete fulfillment of the mandate
of each peacekeeping operation, adequate budgetary funds must be ensured
for smooth functioning, including on time reimbursement of due payments
to troop contributing countries.
In closing, let me once again thank you,
Sir. I wish this session of the Assembly all success as I pray to Allah,
our Lord, to enable us, one and all, to live up to the responsibilities
entrusted to us.