At the Preliminary Meeting of the We Are All Jordan Forum
Dead Sea, Jordan
12 July 2006
(Translated from Arabic)
Welcome to all of you. I am pleased to see this grand national gathering which includes the cabinet, the Senate, the deputies and representatives of the private sector, the media, civil society organisations, parties and youth from the Kingdom's governorates.
This gathering, brothers, is a preliminary one, in which we should aspire to organise the national priorities of our people. After putting these priorities in order in this gathering, we will meet again in two weeks to draft a plan of action that will lead us to the realisation of these priorities.
As you know, there have been a number of efforts over the past few years, from governmental and non-governmental institutions, to draft goals, plans, agendas and executive programmes that embody my vision for Jordan's future, for reform, modernisation and development and for confronting challenges and problems that must be faced.
Some of these programmes have been successful in realising their objectives; others, regrettably, did not achieve results because there we could not achieve consensus on political, economic and social priorities.
Naturally, there are always differences in views and ideas; this is a positive and necessary thing. But we now need a majority to agree on an action plan that will guide everyone - government, parliament, the private sector and civil society organisations - towards a renaissance in Jordan, making the future we aspire to and facing internal and external challenges which you are all aware of.
And so that no one person or body misinterprets these meetings, and before accusations and rumours start rolling, I would like to emphasise that these meetings are unofficial, and that they do not transgress any of the state's institutions, which I protect and safeguard in accordance with the Constitution. What we desire from these meetings is a unified concept and a single vision, in one spirit, that we are all Jordan, and that we all want to work for Jordan in an organised way, free of personal agendas or desires, or personal or party interests.
The government of course has the leading role; the Parliament has its role in oversight and legislation; the private sector has an important and increasing role in development and social responsibility, along with civil society organisations, parties and youth. We are all Jordan, and we all seek to realise Jordan's progress and prosperity.
Over the past year, brothers, I have met with a large number of representatives from different social sectors during my visits to the Badia, villages, camps and cities. And in the past weeks, I have met with more than 300 national personalities at the Hashemite Royal Court. I emphasised to them our determination to advance development and reform, in spite of all the challenges with which I acquainted them, in detail. I listened to every one of them; every comment they made has been taken into account, and we were able to define - from these meetings - thirty issues that were at the centre of concern for most of the participants in these meetings. These topics are in front of you now, on every table. Your task is to look at them during this meeting, so that we can prioritise them. I suggest that every one of the 70 groups in this hall select one of its members to act as coordinator or representative of his or her group with the other groups.
Following agreement on the priorities, your designated “representative” or “coordinator” will arrange the next meeting, when we will continue our discussions, with God's grace.
What I request and wish for, from you brothers, at the end of the next meeting, is agreement on a programme of action that is bound to a timetable and benchmarks to measure performance. This programme would guide all of us: the government in its policies and programmes, the parliament in supervising and legislating and all other institutions in accordance with their roles. I hope to hear from you the results concerning national priorities in two hours, so that they will constitute the basis for our work in the next meeting.
May God grant you good health.