At the Dinner Hosted by His Excellency the Prime Minister of Japan Keizo Obuchi
2 December 1999
Your Excellency Mr Prime Minister,
It is a great pleasure for Queen Rania and myself to be in Japan, at a time when you are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor. Also, this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic missions in our two capitals. In fact, our relations go back further in time. In the Arab world we have followed Japan's growth and economic power over many decades. We came to admire your achievements, the resilience and hard work of your people, and the softness and elegance of your culture.
We value your interest in our region and my country, and warmly welcome your role in the construction of peace in the Middle East. I believe all of us in the region have a lot to learn from Japan, from your experience of building in peacetime and preserving the peace. That is why Japan's role in the peace process receives our unanimous acclaim. Your support of the process and, in particular, your active involvement in the Environment Working Group of the multilateral negotiations, has been exemplary to all those who wish to create a better future for our region. In Jordan, it is our desire to work with you to sustain the momentum in the peace process and expand it to become a comprehensive one. What our region needs in order to reach a durable peace is to have a just and comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I am personally committed and determined to work for this objective. And I believe that Japan's role in this regard is indispensable and vital.
Mr Prime Minister,
Last night, I said that our region had suffered too much for too long. There are people amongst us whose lives were shattered, who lost their land and became refugees. They also deserve to live in peace and enjoy the fruits of peace. In Jordan we have been able to cope in spite of difficult conditions, and have been able to contribute to the peace and stability of the region. We have been assisted by our friends, foremost among them Japan. In difficult times during the last ten years, Japan stood by us and provided much-needed assistance. For this, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation. What really matters is the true friendship that has characterised our relations and for that too, I am grateful.
Mr Prime Minister,
Last week, I participated in a seminar on industrial development policies, where Japanese experts and professors are assisting us in introducing and implementing drastic changes that can help our national economy. I reiterated our firm commitment to economic reform and restructuring, to the maintenance of fiscal and monetary discipline, and to the rapid enactment of all the legislative changes required for the establishment of an investment-enabling environment. I also emphasised the priority for a sound industrial policy that would enhance the growth of exports through cooperation between the private and public sectors. I am also very grateful for the Japanese assistance in this regard.
I have been reading with great admiration how you take time from your ever-so-busy schedule to speak by telephone to ordinary citizens, to share their problems and seek their input. I have also been very much impressed with your true feelings of parenthood when it comes to your great nation. This human side has endeared you even further to the hearts of Jordanians. On behalf of all of them, let me wish you success for your people and your country.
In closing, allow me to thank you for the good meeting that we had, Excellency, where we covered many substantive issues of mutual concern. I would like to propose a toast: for the continued success and happiness of Mr and Mrs Obuchi, the prosperity of the people of Japan, and the friendship between Japan and Jordan.