At the Dinner Hosted by His Excellency the President of France Jacques Chirac
15 November 1999
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to express to Your Excellency and to you, Madame, on my behalf and on behalf of Queen Rania, as well as on behalf of the delegation that accompanies us, our gratitude and appreciation for the very warm hospitality with which we have been received in your friendly country, for which we have deep esteem and respect. We also have the pleasure to salute through you, and in the name of the people of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the people of France, with whom we have been united by strong ties since the era of General Charles de Gaulle. The foundation of our relations has been established by His late Majesty King Hussein, God rest his soul, with all the Presidents of the Fifth Republic, including you, Mr President.
I know of all the esteem and admiration that my father held for you, and I am delighted today to visit France on the same dates scheduled for the visit that was to be effected by my father, had he not fallen ill.
Our relations are based on common principles and objectives emanating from both the Arab and French civilisations. Consequently, we can direct our efforts towards consolidating these relations and developing these perspectives to serve the common interest of our countries. Throughout history, your country has never ceased to maintain cooperative and amicable relations with all the peoples of the Middle East, including the people of Jordan.
The principles of justice, freedom and respect of human rights are the same ones for which my Hashemite grand-parents launched the Great Arab Revolt. They were inspired by the values of the French Revolution. Your country has always been the friend of the Arabs. You have sided with them and you have defended their legitimate rights and just causes. France has always been a model for its history and for its present actions. The hearts of the defenders of freedom are turned towards it, as well as the hearts of the artists and the intellectuals that attempt to find in its cultural, artistic and literary heritage, the values of truth, freedom, justice and innovations.
This evening, I would like to refer to the continuous support extended by your country to Jordan during the difficult periods of its history. Allow me to express to you, Mr. President, our gratitude and appreciation for your personal commitment throughout this year to assist Jordan. First of all, for your intervention at the Paris Club for rescheduling the due debts of my country. Then for your support expressed during the G-7 Summit in Cologne, where you called upon the international community to assist Jordan and alleviate its debts.
The Jordanian economy has started to follow the correct trends. In order to respond to the requirements of the international community, we have adopted several laws and amended numerous pieces of legislation in order to make them compatible with the openness to the international economy that we are looking for, and also to attract further Arab and international investments. I will pursue this policy of economic reform, of liberalisation and of openness of my country to the world.
Jordan wants to be ready for its partnership with Europe by the enforcement of the Association Agreement with the European Union. Jordan wants to do its utmost to become a member of the World Trade Organisation as soon as that could be realised.
Allow me to seize this opportunity to underline the important participation of the French private sector in the large Jordanian economic industries. The largest foreign investments recently realised in Jordan have been implemented by France, especially in the water sector, cement and tourist projects. The perspectives open to your companies are major ones and I underline the regional dimension of the projects that can be developed in Jordan. Furthermore, our cultural, scientific and technical cooperation is developing in all domains. We salute the considerable development of the French language in Jordan, and we are willing to further promote its expansion in our country.
I am also pleased with the cooperation existing between both our countries in the military and defence domains. I have sensed the importance of this cooperation, and the commitment of France to the security of my country, when I was the Commander of the Jordanian Special Forces.
The people of our region have chosen since the beginning of the decade to search for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace. In this context, I would like to praise the pioneering role of France, and the concepts it was the first to define regarding the direct dialogue, the mutual recognition and equality for all people. I am calling for the stronger involvement of France and Europe on the Israeli-Palestinian track, and also on the Israeli-Syrian-Lebanese track, taking into consideration the good relations with these different countries.
Jordan, which has exerted considerable efforts seeking a comprehensive and just peace in the region, shall continue to do its utmost to see the peace process resumed on all tracks, Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese, until the realisation of a comprehensive peace along with the respect and restitution of the rights of each, and the guaranteed application of the international laws and resolutions in this respect.
On my behalf and on behalf of Queen Rania and all of the delegation accompanying me, allow me to express to you once more how honoured we are for being with you in this friendly country whose people were the authors of a great revolution that has inspired all of humanity.
The principles and values of the French Revolution remain present today in the conscience of the whole world. The example that France presents by its independence and visions are dear to our heart. We will always be honoured by the love you hold for us and the exceptional relations of trust and affection that unite the people of Jordan and the people of France.
God bless the Jordanian-French friendship.