At the Presidential Banquet in La Moneda Presidential Palace
20 October 2008
President Bachelet, may I begin by thanking you, for a memorable beginning to our visit. Rania and I have looked forward keenly to being here. Chile is our first destination on this, our first trip to South America. I think there could not be a better place, or a more extraordinary people, to introduce us to your region's future.
You should know that from our side, this trip came about because of many years of interest and excitement about what your country has achieved, and how it is moving forward today. For Jordanians, like so many others around the world, Chile has a giant global presence as a leader of change.
We have seen you take a leadership role in your region. We have been awed by the political transformation that brought Chileans together, to leave the past behind. We have taken lessons from your economic success with its twin aims of economic growth and economic inclusion.
And you have shown the world about perseverance as well -- the tremendous work entailed in meeting national challenges whether these are natural disasters like the terrible rains in the south last August or global shocks, such as the recent energy and food prices, or the financial crisis coming out of the U.S.
Your experience is especially meaningful to Jordan. We too have been on a progressive path: for good governance, human rights and gender equality; for economic growth that produces opportunity and a promising future, especially for our young people; for development that makes a difference in people's lives -- from education, to health care, and more.
And we too, like Chile, have made the commitment to make the difficult decisions, face the challenges, and persevere. At home, we are moving forward with reform. In our region, we have staked our future on peace and moderation. On a global level, we have reached out across oceans to friends and partners, to build a future of opportunity and prosperity, for all sides.That deep commitment has brought our delegation to you today.
As you have recognised, Madame President, globalisation empowers developing countries -- but only when we take an active role. We must be participants, but we must be more. Only when we help shape the global economic order will we truly share in it.
That requires South-South cooperation, at every level: in bi-lateral and multilateral forums; in the economic ties between our private sectors; in cultural relationships, to increase understanding, and combat those who want to see us be divided and powerless.
There is a tremendous potential for increased cooperation between us. MERCOSUR has provided a positive first step towards that goal.
Another important area is dialogue -- especially engaging young people. I am proud that Jordan was the source of the decisive Amman Message, expressing Islam's true values to Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide. This work continues, and must continue, as long as distortions and inter-faith divisions threaten our world. Madam President, you have been a great voice for humanity, a symbol of reconciliation and hope. I hope we can work together to strengthen the bridges among peoples worldwide.
Peace is at the foundation of the world's positive future. In my region, the Arab-Israeli conflict remains a central threat -- not just to Arabs and Israelis, but to co-existence and security around the world. My friends, here too it is vital to partner for change. I know that Chile's Palestinian community has worked actively for justice and peace. And I know that Chile has had a pro-active role with both sides of the conflict. Now is the time to help the parties reach the future they both need -- a two-state settlement -- an end to conflict, with security for Israelis, and justice for Palestinians - in an independent, viable, and sovereign Palestinian state.
In one of his great poems, the Chilean Nobel Laureate, Pablo Neruda, challenged the fences and walls that narrow our world. He asked, “We inherit limits. And why?”
We must also ask: Why limit our futures? Why not reach beyond? Why not open humanity's doors to all we have in common and all we can achieve?
Again, on behalf of the entire Jordanian delegation, Rania and I thank you all, for your wonderful welcome.