Mr. President,

     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.

Mr. President,

     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 track.

Mr. President,

     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.

Mr. President,

     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 line.

Mr. President,

     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 refugees.

     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 deficit.

     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.
Mr. President,

     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 Iraqi government.

     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 and detainees.

     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.

Mr. President,

     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.

Mr. President,

     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 terrorism.

     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 and individuals.

     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 co-existence.

Mr. President,

     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.

Mr. President

     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 force.

     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.

Mr. President,

     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.

Thank you.