Opening the Third Ordinary Session of the 13th Parliament
1 November 1999
(Translated from Arabic)
Prayers and salutations on the noblest and the most honourable, faithful Arab and Hashemite Prophet Mohammad,
Honourable Senators,Honourable Deputies,
Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you.
In the name of God and with His blessings, we inaugurate the third session of the Thirteenth Parliament, being the first ordinary session in our reign, a reign of strong will and tenacity for the prosperity and advancement of Jordan, defending its national causes and future generations, in redemption of the great message that our forefathers left us, for which they scarified immensely, and in fulfilment of the noble aims of His Majesty the late King Hussein, thus creating this lofty existence that we inherited and the great respect we see wherever we go, which nestled in our conscience and heart since the first moment God honoured me to bear responsibility for Jordan. I have pledged myself to serve the loyal Jordanians, who are Arabs in their presence, conscience and message, to whom I cherish belonging. I pride myself on their veracity, their ability to face challenges and difficulties, their drive to fulfil their duties, defend their nation's causes, and participate in shaping its future, which will live up to its history and its great, human, civilised message.
My esteem for your honourable assembly is unlimited. Your assembly is the symbol of free Jordanian will and it is the stronghold and fortress of our democratic path. It is the beacon of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. In recognition of this assembly's sacred message and the great national responsibilities it shoulders, my government will co-operate and consult with it over all national issues and causes, as elucidated by the Constitution and within the framework of the separation of the three authorities to create a balance among them, specifying the responsibilities and duties that each of them holds.
Stemming from this clear constitutional base, my government will also support the independence of the judiciary, through legislation that supports this independence and safeguards it, providing incentives and means that assist the judiciary to fulfil its acclaimed mission in bestowing justice among people and the prevalence of law above all. Jordanians are equal by law. Justice is the foundation of governance and the guarantor of the values of tolerance, affinity, integration and national unity.
On these bases, we in Jordan believe that we are one family whose members are equal in rights and duties, regardless of origin or birthplace. We also believe that a true sense of belonging to Jordan and demonstrating this through work and carrying out duties is the measure of good citizenship.
Wars and conflicts that befell this region had negative impact not only on our economy but on the whole region. Arab support for Jordan ceased. Our exports were prevented from reaching some markets. The number of our sons working abroad decreased. These and many other events led to increased unemployment and poverty under the shadow of a hefty debt, burdening our national economy.
Jordan witnessed similar circumstances in the past – perhaps more difficult ones – but because of its wise leadership and the tireless efforts of its loyal sons, Jordan passed all its difficulties and hardships, achieving great aims with meagre means.
Accordingly, the question of economic development, restricting our public spending, activating the private sector, creating an attractive investment climate, providing infrastructure and dealing with the foreign debt are at the top of our priorities and national aims.
The path is long. But with earnest, patient and focused work we will be able to travel it. Our economy, thank God, is recuperating gradually. In this regard we highly value our friends' co-operation and support for us and our endeavours to rectify our economic situation.
Our water resources are scarce. The sparse rain of last season magnified the problem. Despite that, my government dealt with the issue efficiently, as is appreciated by all. The summer has passed, thank God, without the citizens feeling an acute problem. We have to deal with this situation categorically through exploring new sources, completing the Disi project, treating brackish water in nearby ground resources and rationalising consumption. We have to recognise herewith, with thanks, the efforts of our Libyan, Emirati, and Syrian brethren who expressed readiness to help us in this field.
The Jordanian civil service is renowned for its efficiency. However, lately it has suffered from negative qualities such as apathy, slackness and cliquism, the use of official status for personal gain and, at times, the exploitation of public funds. Therefore my government will continue the measures it has initiated to put an end to all these hateful and negative qualities.
We will not be lenient in dealing with all those who transgress in public service, or misuse it, or attempt to gain wealth illegally, or who are involved in any king of corruption, regardless of its kind or size. Our just judiciary will always have the final say in any such case.
My government will continue to restructure its administration, modernise it, eliminate bureaucracy, modernise and ease procedures, and work for an institutional attitude where team spirit prevails, allowing capable citizens a chance as well as loyal administrative leadership that is capable and creative.
Providing a dignified standard of living and offering public services for Jordanians in the Badia, the rural areas, the camps and cities, is a national responsibility and a sacred duty that the government endeavours to fulfil. It will continue expanding services offered to citizens in the educational, social, and health fields, and will continue working to improve them. I should, herewith, refer to the need for greater attention to be paid to women's and children's issues by means of new programs and legislation that safeguards their interests and improves services provided to them. My government will take special care to extend health insurance to the point of a comprehensive system and to improve the level and quality of education and to address the housing, transport, social care, and environmental protection sectors in all their dimensions.
Jordan is wealthy, thank God, with tourist attractions in terms of location, climate, archaeological and religious sites. Therefore, my government will develop and exploit these tourist resources as much as possible. We will expand the role of private sector investment and introduce legislation to attract such new investment to improve services in this sector, which in turn enhances public revenues and creates new employment opportunities.
Our democratic course has been and will remain our unwavering national cause. Your honourable assembly is its central feature. The country witnessed a few months ago one of its best democratic experiences when my government ran municipal council elections with utmost integrity, impartiality, efficiency and organisation. My government will continue to strengthen this democratic course and open new horizons by increasing democratic awareness, establishing proper rules of debate among the civil society, respecting the views of others, and safeguarding public freedoms and political pluralism, within a total commitment to the spirit of the Constitution, respect for the rule of law, and loyalty to our beloved country. We do this out of our conviction that we are all, institutions and individuals, partners in shouldering our national responsibility and partners in shaping the present and the future of this nation.
Therefore, it is not anybody's right or that of any side whoever it may be, to monopolise the claim for truth, or that of the higher national interest, or to exploit the free, democratic and tolerant climate, or to abuse the laws, traditions or noble values of this country, or to harm its image and good reputation, or abuse its symbols and institutions, or belittle its sacrifices and achievements. If we do not allow ourselves to interfere in other peoples' affairs we will not allow anybody to interfere in ours.
Our courageous armed forces and our security forces are the nation's shield and the symbol of its dignity and free will. They are the ever-alert watchful eye on citizens' security, safeguarding their lives and dignity. They were and will always be our greatest source of pride and appreciation.
My government will be attentive and responsive to the needs of the army and the security forces by ensuring their professional readiness at all times to enable them to carry out their national duties.
Jordan has been and will always remain, God willing, the inheritor of the message of the Great Arab Revolt and its noble aims and aspirations in freedom, unity and better life. Jordan will always be loyal to its Arab roots. Its relations with other Arab states will only stem from these roots. No relation with any country will supersede Jordan's relations with its Arab brethren.
On this basis, Jordan will continue its endeavours to improve inter-Arab relations and transcend Arab disputes. It will continue to support joint Arab institutions, working to unite and mobilise the nation's efforts in a framework of co-operation and integration, aiming for a brighter future for coming generations. Our relations with each Arab brother state are based upon compassion, brotherhood, respect, trust, co-operation and non-interference in the internal affairs of others.
My government will continue its efforts to advance the peace process to achieve the desired progress on all tracks. It will continue to support our Palestinian brethren until they regain their rights and establish their independent state on their national soil with Jerusalem as its capital. Since we believe that the Palestinian cause is the core of conflict in this region, no peace will be achieved without a just settlement to this issue.
As for our brethren in Syria and Lebanon, we will not cease to support them to regain their rights and occupied territories until the just, comprehensive, and lasting peace is achieved as longed for by all the peoples of the region.
As for our brethren in Iraq and Sudan, we feel for their suffering and endurance under the sanctions enforced upon them. We invite the international community to fulfil its human and moral duty to lift the sanctions on these two peoples and put an end to this suffering, which exceeds all limits. In this regard, we reiterate our firm position concerning safeguarding the integrity and unity of Iraq.
In light of what we know, we strongly believe in your true appreciation of the heavy responsibility you bear to enlist every capability for productive work and to ensure fruitful co-operation between the executive and the legislature. The nation needs the efforts of all its citizens and national institutions. Let us work together to build Jordan as the model to serve our Arab nation.
I salute you and salute each brother and sister in this dear nation.
May God be with us.
"I only desire (your) betterment to the best of my power; and my success (in my task) can only come from God. In Him I trust and unto him I look." (Surah Hud, Ayah 88)
Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you.