Opening the Fourth Ordinary Session of the 14th Parliament
28 November 2006
(Translated from Arabic)
And prayers and peace be upon our master Mohammad, the honest Arab Hashemite Prophet,
Honourable Senators,Honourable Deputies,
Peace, God's mercy and His blessings be upon you,
In the name of God, and with His blessings, we inaugurate the fourth ordinary session of the fourteenth parliament, praying to the Almighty, may He be exalted, to help us shoulder our responsibility, and grant us success in serving our dear people and realising their noble national hopes and ambitions, and in completing the building of Jordan, a progressive modern country; an Arab Muslim country with a Hashemite conscience and passion, that receives resolve and power from its national institutions, the strong resolution of its citizens, their free will and their sincere belonging to the soil of this dear homeland and its noble message.
This belonging is deep-rooted in their hearts and conscience, and is embodied in their national motto: Jordan First, in all circumstances.
The constitutional event we witness today is a pledge to Jordan's democratic march, which we are keen to protect and preserve and to which we are keen to open new horizons so that it will grow roots in a state governed by law and institutions, and in a climate where noble values prevail - the values of tolerance, dialogue, respect for others, and justice, equality and equal opportunities, for all Jordanians.
Internal and external challenges are numerous and dangerous. We must rise to meet them with utmost seriousness and responsibility. There is no time for delay. We are sure that, with the help of God and the resolve of Jordanians, we will prove stronger than all these challenges. We will be able to face them by strengthening and enhancing our internal front; by realising more economic, social, political and legislative achievements and by maintaining a fast pace of achievement, modernisation and development in a climate of security and stability -- the basic pillars for development in all spheres.
In this respect, I would like to affirm the importance, and necessity of finalising the laws sent to your honourable parliament, especially those regulating political parties, municipalities, media and freedom of information.
Praise be to God for the national consensus achieved in the "We Are All Jordan" meetings, and reflected in practical working programs and unanimous agreement on immutable national principles.
Thus, the next phase of the government's work will be based on a number of these national principles, primary among: improving Jordanians' living standards, preserving public freedoms, enhancing popular participation - especially the participation of women and youth - in decision-making, fighting corruption, ensuring the supremacy of law, enhancing the judiciary's independence, enhancing transparency and accountability, focusing on human resource development and self- sufficiency and strengthening the pillars of financial stability and those of our currency.
We have succeeded, praise be to God, in obtaining aid from the Arab Gulf states, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which continue to offer aid to Jordan and have stood by her under all conditions. We appreciate and take pride in their brotherly and honourable support. Hence I directed the government, as they were preparing the general budget for 2007, to include programs and projects that would improve the standard of living of citizens in all governorates, enhance the investment climate, and realise justice in the distribution of the benefits of development.
To realise these goals, my government has committed itself to enhancing and strengthening the internal front, to anchoring the principles of citizenship and belonging, to making a clear and frank commitment to the homeland's principles, and to realising political pluralism and respect for the opinion of the majority. The government will work towards fulfilling all the forthcoming political and constitutional duties. Primary among them are holding parliamentary elections, protecting Jordanians' human rights, ensuring freedom for individuals and groups, and enhancing youth participation in all stages of work and development.
My government will seek to elevate the standard of services, encourage investment, accelerate privatisation and improve the conditions of the labour market. My government will seek to build an institutional investment framework that will ensure coordination between investment bodies and support promising sectors, especially tourism and industry, information technology and services, on condition that the private sector will play the bigger role in formulating and implementing different reform processes.
My government will seek to accelerate the restructuring of the public sector by streamlining the bureaucracy and providing incentives and support to increase the efficiency of this sector. As for fighting poverty, my government will seek to reallocate financial resources to target the poor directly, through the Social Solidarity Commission, to coordinate national aid efforts.
My government will complete the construction of 1,400 housing units which I had previously ordered to be built, and will provide five thousand lots of land with infrastructure to be distributed to poor families during 2007. This will be complemented by the establishment of economic development zones in a number of governorates, and the enhancement of the capabilities of local institutions, municipalities, and the cooperative sector so that their contribution to local development will be strengthened.
Jordanians are Jordan's real wealth. They are known to be capable of facing challenges and realising achievement. Thus, my government will continue to implement programs to raise the standard of education and training, and to strike a balance between the outcomes of academic and vocational education and the requirements of the national economy. In addition, the government will seek to expand the health insurance umbrella, and to establish a number of medical centres in the governorates.
Our armed forces and security institutions are our homeland's shield, and the alert eye that safeguards its security and stability. We are proud of them, and we appreciate their performance. My government will commit itself to fulfilling all the needs of the forces and the institutions, to develop and modernise them, and provide them with all modern facilities, so that they will remain, as they have always been, an example of excellence, efficiency, able to shoulder their august responsibility.
Jordan inherited the message of the Great Arab Revolt, and will remain, with God's help, loyal to this message. It will bear its duty towards the Arab and Islamic nation. My government therefore commits itself to offering all possible support to the Palestinians so that they can regain their rights and establish their independent state on Palestinian soil, in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and international peace initiatives. Jordan will not accept an unjust settlement of this issue, nor will Jordan accept any settlement that comes at its expense.
My government will continue to stand by the Iraqi people, and by Iraq's unity, sovereignty, security and stability.
As for regional challenges, and the circumstances through which the region is passing, from the moment they appeared, Jordan sought to crystallise a united Arab stance that could speak to the world in one voice and face these challenges. It will continue in earnest to exert such efforts.
Arab belonging means that we should shoulder certain responsibilities towards our Arab nation. Likewise, our belonging to our Islamic religion and the honour we hold as direct descendants of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, means that we should shoulder responsibilities towards our true religion, Islam, and the issues that concern Muslims around the world. We are the most eligible to defend Islam and show its brightness to the world around us by refusing the accusations against it and challenging the campaigns to distort it by some Muslim extremists and some non-Muslims. The Amman Message, which we launched earlier, was a step in this direction.
Over the past seven years, we have realised numerous achievements, but the road ahead is still long. We have to work earnestly and seriously to realise our national objectives, and complete the modernisation of Jordan as a state of institutions, where law is supreme, and where every citizen enjoys justice, equal opportunities, democracy, security and stability.
I am sure that with the resolve of Jordanians, men and women, we will be able to realise the ambitions of our generous people, and to overcome all challenges and hardships.
I pray to God, the Sublime, to grant all of us success in serving our dear country; we are all partners in responsibility and we are all Jordan.
Peace, God's mercy and His blessings be upon you.