Address to the Nation Announcing National Elections
15 August 2002
(Translated from Arabic)
The Arab, Hashemite, and Trustworthy Prophet.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Peace be upon you, God's mercy and blessings
It is with pleasure that I extend to you my pride in you and my appreciation for your productivity, commitment and devotion in building your country and in your persistence in raising its banner and facing all the challenges and difficulties that obstruct our righteous process with courage patience and will, that never weakens nor yields.
Despite all the difficult circumstances and challenges that Jordan faces with its limited resources, Jordan has remained, with your will, patience and belonging, up-right and proud of what its people have achieved, eager to fulfill its commitments towards the Arab nation and the Arab brethren, even when it bore burdens in excess of its capabilities.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have aspired, since I was honoured with shouldering the responsibility, to remain close to you, to listen to you, to keep you aware of events around us, and the goals we are working towards. We are all partners in shouldering the responsibility, and my pride to be one of you is unparalleled, but with your awareness and true belonging, your committed participation to shoulder the responsibility and to carry out the duty, and to place national interests above all considerations.
I know the meaning of pain, anger and worry that you have endured in the past months because of the suffering that our Palestinian brethren are facing: the killing, destruction and siege, under the oppression of occupation. I am one of you, I share all your feelings, what hurts you hurts me, and what angers you, angers me.
Since day one of the Israeli attack on Palestinian cities, villages and camps, my government, you, and I, have taken the initiative on all fronts, to support our Palestinian brethren, and to put an end to what they are enduring, which has exceeded all limits.
Our efforts have focused during this period, on contacting influential countries in this world, in the forefront of which are the USA, Russia, the European Union and China, to use all our relations with them, to stop this attack, and to urge Israel to fulfill its agreements with our Palestinian brethren, and to return to the negotiations and the peace process. We have re-affirmed to all these states that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is the main cause of conflict in the region, and that peace cannot prevail until the occupied Arab lands are returned to the Palestinians on the bases of UN resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, the Arab Peace Initiative and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian soil, that a specific time frame should be set up for the establishment of this state, and that the Palestinian Authority is the only legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people, and that only the Palestinian people can choose their leadership and take their national decisions.
On the Arab front, we have endeavoured to provide moral and financial support, to our Palestinian brethren. Jordan has been the only outlet from which all aid and donations to the Palestinian territories went through, severely needed by our brethren, especially medical aid. Our field hospitals are still serving in the Palestinian territories.
Amidst these events, some voices called for the annulment of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty, or the closure of the Israeli Embassy and expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador. We said to those who voiced these slogans that the peace treaty is a real guarantee of the protection of our rights, interests and borders. It is our line of defence against Israeli expansionism. We invested in this treaty to offer support to our Palestinian brethren. Jordanian airplanes and trucks have been the only ones to reach the Palestinian territories.
Naturally, the oracles of empty slogans and private agendas found an opportunity to outbid us, under the pretence of supporting the Palestinians. We could have explained to them, those who sought popularity on the cheap, what Jordan has endured and is still enduring for the Palestinian cause. Yet we are not self-laudatory. We know our duty towards our Palestinian brethren. We have stood by them with all our resources since the 1936 revolution. We engaged in all the Arab nation's wars in defence of the Palestinian territories, although we did not know about some of them until they were launched. The graves of the martyrs of the Jordanian Arab Army remain beacons in Palestinian cities and villages. After every defeat faced by the Arab nation, Jordan was the one that opened its heart and arms to our expelled brethren. We shared with our Palestinian brethren our food and water, as well as all the calamities of war that we faced alongside them, although we knew that our enemy was stronger than us and that the results would not be as we wished. We nevertheless sacrificed and answered the call of our nation, irrespective of all narrow national or personal interests.
We are not commending ourselves, or defending our positions, or patronising our brethren. It is our duty, and we do not accept others outbidding us. The Palestinians are our brethren and family. They know best who stands by them with sincerity and in brotherhood, and who outbids their own steadfastness and sacrifices. We will continue to support them and defend their rights with all possible means, and in all international fora, till they regain their lands, and establish their independent state on their national soil, with Jerusalem as its capital.
The rhetoric concerning the "Jordanian option" is categorically rejected. Jordan will never ever be an alternative to the Palestinian leadership. Jordan will not be a party to the settlement of the Palestinian cause, nor will it speak on behalf of the Palestinian people.
I have worked during the past years in cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the Arab Republic of Egypt, to render all that we can, in terms of support, to the Palestinians. We will continue to support them, but the decision in the end is that of the Palestinian leadership, and it is the one that bears the responsibility before their people, the Arab nation and the world.
Our position regarding Iraq is clear and well known. Jordan's voice was the strongest and most effective in the Western world, when it reiterated the need to put an end to Iraq's suffering, to respect its sovereignty and the unity of its land, and to acknowledge Iraq's right to live in security and peace, and to settle the Iraqi issue through dialogue with the UN, instead of threatening the use of force. We will continue to offer whatever we can to Iraq. But the decision in the end is that of the Iraqi leadership, they bear the responsibility before their people, nation and the world.
I have told you when I was honoured with shouldering the responsibility, that I have dedicated myself to your service, to achieve your noble aspirations in continuing to build a modern Jordanian state that provides a free and decent life to for every citizen living on its soil and belonging to it.
This aim cannot be realised unless each one of us understands his/her national duty, and until we all work in a one team spirit. We all belong to Jordan, and work to build it, regardless of differences in opinions or positions. If we wish to remain a strong Jordan, capable of facing all attempts to tamper with its security and stability, we have to safeguard our national unity, which is built on the unity of vision and goals, on belonging to this homeland of all Jordanians, a homeland were the spirit of justice prevails, as well as equality, equal opportunities, respect for human rights, no preference to any over another, except for the extent of his/her productivity, belonging and ability to participate and contribute to our national process.
I have worked throughout the past three years with the government to ensure the growth of our economy, deal with foreign debt, unemployment and poverty, attract investments, create new work opportunities, rehabilitate and train the Jordanian citizen, and review our educational programmes. We have succeeded, thanks be to God Almighty, in raising the rate of real economic growth, establishing many projects and investments, and creating work opportunities. But this economic growth has not been clearly reflected yet on the living standards of individuals. The achievements and successes though assure us that we are on the right path, and that we have to be a bit more patient. The beginnings are promising and the future is bright and prosperous, God willing.
We assert here that our concern about events in the region should not undermine our efforts to build Jordan and achieve comprehensive development.
Our democratic process merits our attention and care. We have endeavoured to safeguard and protect it from whatever may divert it away from its right path. We are aware that comprehensive development, and the building of a modern state, is an integrated whole. Economic development must be accompanied by political, intellectual, cultural and social development. We have last year deemed it appropriate to postpone parliamentary elections, until a modern elections law is finalised, and the necessary arrangements are in place to conduct elections. When this was concluded, we found that the difficult regional circumstances dictate that we postpone these elections, even if for a while, although we sincerely wished for different circumstances that would enable us to conduct elections on time. But our wish for these elections to be free and fair, and unaffected by regional influences and circumstance, left us no choice but to postpone them. I would however wish to assure you all that these elections will take place, God willing, next spring. These elections will be free and fair, and will embody the will of the Jordanian citizens who will freely choose their representatives in parliament. I have complete trust in the awareness of the Jordanian citizens and their ability to choose those known for their loyalty, capability, and knowledge, those who have such traits that will allow them to understand our national vision and to work towards achieving our goals, our national aspirations for comprehensive development, and for completing the building of the modern state, the state of institutions and law, and the society of justice and equality.
Developing political life necessitates the existence of national parties that derive their programmes and aims from a clear vision and commitment to the nation's causes and higher interests, so that they can contribute to and enrich the development of political life.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The challenges that we are facing are great and the aims that we are aspiring to achieve demand the efforts of each and every one of us. Youth have a special responsibility. Our nation's sons and daughters are the builders of the future we aspire to. I seize this opportunity to call upon them to seek education and knowledge, to keep pace with the spirit of the age, to respect the value of work, not to be carried away by slogans. I am confident that we in Jordan, young and old, men and women, agree on belonging to this nation and working together regardless of differences in opinion or reference for the future of our sons and daughters. Nations are not built with slogans, but with sincere and earnest work.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you once again in all your positions, positions of work and nation building. I express my deep pride in you and call upon God the Almighty to protect you, and to help guide your steps in the righteous path in the service of our country and nation.
Peace, God's mercy and his blessings be upon you.