At the Summit of South American-Arab Countries
10 May 2005
(Delivered by His Royal Highness Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein)
Thank you very much. It is an honour to be part of this important gathering. Let me express my appreciation to President Lula da Silva, President Abdel Aziz Boutaflika, our Brazilian hosts and all those who have worked to make our meeting a success. His Majesty sends his best regards to you, and to all of you, Assalam Alaikum.
Today's summit recognises the long history between our peoples and regions. But we are doing more than looking back; we are looking ahead to a future of tremendous promise and mutual benefit.
Key to that future is a new and active partnership – one that builds on our common interests and priorities. At this summit, in these meetings, we are creating the framework: not a static structure, but a new channel for action, a doorway to the kind of dynamic cooperation that produces real results.
Our regions face many of the same challenges. In South America and in the Arab world, people want jobs, peace and security, justice and access to what this century has to offer. I believe we can help deliver on that promise faster, and more effectively, by working together.
Today and in the days to come, I hope we will find new and specific mechanisms for cooperation. Economic areas of importance include region-to-region trade and investment, networked knowledge and shared best practices. In these efforts and others, cooperation can amplify our regions' impact in the global economy – as well as benefit economic development at home.
Sustained development is a critical goal for both our regions. It is the only path to opportunity, now and in the future, for our young populations. In both Arab and South American countries, we have seen the positive impact of home-grown reform. And in both regions, we have learned the importance of engaging all citizens in shaping the future.
This is the course that Jordan has charted. Our political, economic and social reforms are aimed at creating a democracy that reflects both modern civil society and our strong Arab-Islamic values. We have invested in education and a knowledge infrastructure, established a partnership with private enterprise and civil society, and sought cooperation with friends and partners across the world.
Today, we join you in looking forward to new opportunities. We can advance that process by resolving on next steps that will benefit all our countries. Ideas are the first step. I urge every one of you to make your voice heard.
Let me add, as well, that cultural exchange is also vital. We are proud that this year, the honour of hosting the World Culture Forum will be handed on from Brazil to Jordan. This annual event celebrates the contribution of our regions' unique cultures. That heritage of diversity and deep tradition is something our world must never lose.
Just a month ago, in Rome, His Majesty King Abdullah joined Arab leaders and others, from every region and every religion, at the funeral mass for Pope John Paul Two. We were all reminded at that moment – as we are now looking around this room – that the heart of peace and progress is our respect for each other.
The scope of cooperation between our regions is without boundaries. This summit is just a beginning. Let's build on it in deeds, as well as words.
May God's peace, grace and mercy be upon you.