At the Closing Session of the World Economic Forum
Dead Sea, Jordan
22 May 2005
Positive change demands a process – a systematic approach that can turn hope into reality. It must reflect the needs and concerns of our people: youth, who want to fulfil their potential, elders, who help us see what is right, and achievers, like you, with the proven ability to get a job done.
This year's Forum builds upon input from all these. It targeted the most important concerns of our people – opportunity, justice, security, freedom. That's backed up by the important opinion survey reported at this Forum. It tells us people want to move forward. They want meaningful reform. They want to see a tangible difference in their lives.
We must listen to their voices. And we must act: to cultivate good governance and human rights. To create economies that deliver opportunity, economies that encourage trade, investment and innovation. To create an “Arab education decade” of world-class quality. To bring peace, with justice, to our region.
Your support has brought this reality one step closer. You have carried regional development forward, by giving us a specific, clear process that can succeed. And you have demonstrated the strength of the partnership for reform.
As you know, there has been an international spotlight on the question of Middle East reform. There are many voices and many views. But friends of the Arab world understand that real reform must come from inside the region; from the stakeholders – the Arab people themselves. And you've delivered a vital message to world leaders: Middle East progress starts here, at home, and it has already begun.
At this Forum, you have also articulated a vision of peace and security. We were honoured to have high-level representation, both business and political, from Palestine and Israel. This Forum has highlighted the core reality for our entire region: our future depends on a just resolution of this conflict – a viable Palestinian state beside a secure Israel. We were also honoured to have a distinguished delegation from Iraq. I hope they will take a message home: the Arab world stands together in supporting Iraq's sovereignty, unity and prosperity, and the right of all Iraqis to live in peace and security. May I also use this opportunity to express our wish for the release of all hostages, including Florence Aubenas of France and others.
The entire world has a stake in Middle East peace and development. Professor Schwab, let me thank you, your team and our many friends here from outside the region. Your support tells us that we are not alone. And your partnership is vital for the open, stable, prosperous world we all seek.
The process has begun. Now it is time to go forward. In the days ahead, I ask you to make your efforts here part of a continuing process of dialogue and action. You – and other forward-looking people in our region – are truly the engine of change.
As my father showed me many times, every flight begins with a flight plan. My friends, thanks to you and many others, we have our flight plan. The Arab world is ready to take off. And together, we will reach our destination.
Thank you very much.