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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > May

Remarks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Dr. Marwan Mouasher and Jordanian Minister of Planning Mr. Basem Awadallah

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Signing Ceremony
Amman, Jordan
May 13, 2003

DR. BASEM AWADALLAH, JORDANIAN MINISTER OF PLANNING: If you think your mission to the Middle East was tough, getting Protocol to agree to me to stand on this podium for two minutes this morning to say few words was very, very tough indeed. Tough negotiations, which lasted for many hours but I wanted to say few words on behalf of the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on behalf of my colleagues His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Trade and Industry.

If you measure gratitude for the partnership that we have with the United States of America, a partnership that really tries to sustain a model of reform, of development, and of progress. The two agreements that we will sign this morning, the first one is for assistance Ė grant assistance that will be given to Jordan to help mitigate the impact of the adverse region reality in the value of 700 million dollars. This is in addition to the regular assistance that we received this year from the United States, the economic package of 250 million dollars, which will be used to finance education programs, water programs, health programs, and to help accelerate the social and economic class transformation of Jordan.

Second agreement is the Bilateral Investment Treaty. This is an agreement that was signed in 1997 and designed to enhance private investment in Jordan - US private investments in Jordan. It is a very significant agreement because it was a first in a series of agreements that we signed over the past two years, Open Skies Agreement, Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, and later the Free Trade Area Agreement (FTA) which was signed in 2000 and ratified by Congress in 2001. Both agreements point to the direction that we have chosen, a partnership to really sustain a model of development and liberalization, as I said.

In his commencement address to the University of South Carolina last Friday, the President announced an initiative for the development of the Middle East. Development that is underpinned by peace, security, and stability, comprehensive, just, and lasting peace for all in this part of the world. This is the kind of development that we seek in close and active partnership with you, Mr. Secretary. It is a partnership that we hope will be discussed at the upcoming World Economic Forum meeting on June 21 and we are delighted that you and Trade Representative Zoellick will be joining us in order to discuss all these important matters in the Middle East as we usher in a new crossroads in the history of this region.

Again, let me thank you one more time for taking the time to sign this agreement with us today. Let me also thank your very able Ambassador, Mr. Gnehm, and his able team. Anne Aarnes (USAID Jordan Mission Director) and the very able team at USAID have done a very superb job in trying to get this agreement as quickly as possible and really I would like to express once again how proud we are of the special relations we have with the United States of America. Thank you, Sir.

MARWAN MOUSHAR, JORDANIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Mr. Secretary, let me first begin by welcoming you once again to Amman and expressing also our sympathies with the victims of the terrorist act in Saudi Arabia and our condemnation of this act. This will only strengthen our resolve to keep our efforts at finding a solution to all the problems of this region.

We had extensive talks with the Secretary yesterday, both on Iraq and on the Peace Process. And let me say that we believe, in Jordan, that we need to have a smooth and quick transition to a credible Iraqi government and we talked about ways and means of doing so in a way that would ensure that an Iraqi government that is representative of all political factions in Iraq is formed at the soonest possible time so that once again Iraq will be part of the international community.

We talked at length about the Peace Process. We believe the time has come for all parties to accept the Road Map. The Arab party has done that, the Palestinians have done that. It is very important to move both on the security aspect of the problem, and we have expressed our readiness to work with the United States and with the Palestinians to do that in order to create the proper conditions for forward movement on the Peace Process. At the same time, we also believe that Israel has to accept the Road Map if we are to work within a clear framework and if we are to implement the Presidentís vision of a two-state solution in three years.

Let me say that Jordanís position, in particular, in support of the Road Map emanates from the Road Map adopting the Arab Initiative as one of the bases for a solution and thereby defining the outlines of the end game, adopting a three-year framework. This is the first international document that adopts a specific timeframe for the end of the occupation and adopts a monitoring mechanism to ensure that all the parties are meeting their commitments on time.

This is why Jordan has accepted the Road Map and this is why we believe these elements should not be tampered with in the course of the implementation of this Road Map. We stand ready to work with the United States in order to make this a reality and I look forward to very close cooperation with the United States, with the Palestinians, and with all parties in order to once and for all find a permanent solution to this conflict. Thank you.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. I join you in condemning the terrorist attacks that took place in Saudi Arabia overnight. I will be going from here to Saudi Arabia where I will have a chance to express my regrets and condolences directly to the leadership of Saudi Arabia. Once again it reminds us that terrorism is a global phenomenon that we must all fight. I would like to extend my best wishes to those who were injured for a speedy recovery and to the families of those who were causalities to give them some comfort in this time of concern.

The United States will not be deterred from pursuing the interests of peace around the world in the face of this kind of terrorism. And I once again condemn them, cowardly individuals who sneak during the night and kill innocent civilians. We have been concerned about the situation for some time. The United States had issued advisory warnings to citizens traveling the region and we have worked with Saudi authorities in recent days to assist them in chasing down terrorist organizations. As you know, the Saudis have been working very hard on this matter and last week arrested some and found caches of explosives which suggested that terrorist organizations were hard at work trying to commit such a crime. I look to consulting with my Saudi colleagues later this afternoon on how we can redouble our efforts to go after terrorism in any form that it manifests itself in the world.

At this time, however, I am very pleased to be here with my colleagues to sign these two important agreements that underscore the strength and breadth of the relationship between our two countries. The Bilateral Investment Treaty and Supplemental Assistance package we signed today are testament to Jordanís real achievements in economic reform and to the confidence we have in Jordanís future.

This is a moment of great change and opportunity for the region. As was noted a moment ago, President Bush has laid out in his speech at the University of South Carolina last week an ambitious agenda to create new partnerships with the peoples and governments of the Middle East for a more prosperous, peaceful and democratic future. Economic reform is a critical component of this agenda and an area where in many respects Jordan has been a model. I look forward to returning to Jordan in June to attend the meeting of the World Economic Forum. It is fitting that Jordan, a true regional leader in economic reform, will host the World Economic Forum. With Parliamentary elections scheduled for next month as well, Jordan will demonstrate how political and economic development can re-enforce one another.

I had the opportunity during my brief visit here to exchange ideas and views with King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Muasher on two extremely important challenges. First, a prosperous democratic Iraq, governed by Iraqis. An Iraq that we are working hard now to stabilize and to rebuild the infrastructure in that country, infrastructure destroyed after so many years of Saddam Husseinís regime. We are working hard to help the Iraqis put in place a political system that will result in democracy, and a country that will be living in peace with its neighbors.

Second, the United States and Jordan will work to restore hope to Palestinians and Israelis in a peaceful, secure future. In each of these efforts, Jordanís role will be crucial. I emphasized President Bushís strong commitment to his vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and in security. I reinforced to His Majesty and to my colleague Foreign Minister Muasher our commitment to the Road Map aimed at implementing that vision. And I might, at this moment, congratulate my friend and thank my friend for the hard work that he put in developing the Road Map over the past year.

The message I brought is that to move forward, Palestinians will have to move quickly and decisively against those who cling to the path of violence and terror to achieve their ends. And at the same, the state of Israel must do its part to immediately improve the daily lives of Palestinians, to restore hope and to show respect for the dignity of the Palestinian people. This is the only way we will create an environment for peace. Both sides moving together to take those steps that are clear and must be taken if we are to achieve the vision not only of President Bush in his speech of 24 June last year, but also the vision that was put forward by the Arab league at its Beirut summit last year as well. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Do you have any indication at this early stage of who might have been behind this attack? And do you relate this to the ArabóIsraeli conflict or just blind hatred of Americans and Westerners?

SECRETARY POWELL: I donít know yet. I think the suspects are clear, though. It has the earmarks of Al-Qaeda. I think it is just part of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizationsí willingness to kill innocent people in order to push forward a criminal agenda, a terrorist agenda that very often has no purpose, no meaning other than to strike out in rage. I donít attribute it to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I just attribute it to terrorists. We should not try to cloak their terrorist activity, their criminal activity, their murderous activity in any trappings of political purpose. They are terrorists.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SECRETARY POWELL: I am sorry, I donít understand the question. Could it be translated?

Foreign Minister Muasher. Letís have another question.

QUESTION: Mr. Powell how do you evaluate the Israeli move towards the application of the Road Map? Are you satisfied with it? And, do you see if itís fully acceptable that the Israeli troops can continue the raids and assassinating of the members of the (inaudible) and so on, the Palestinian civilians? Thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: If I understand the question, you are asking my opinion of the Israeli approach. I think that Israel understands that the current situation is not sustainable, either for the Palestinian side or the Israeli side. In my conversations with Prime Minister Sharon and other members of the Israeli cabinet, I believe they understand we have to move forward to the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace that President Bush laid out, and that also reflects the Arab initiative. We believe the best way to get there is through the Road Map. Israel knows that the Road Map lays out the steps that have to be taken. They have some comments on the Road Map and we will listen to their comments, but we do not plan to rewrite or renegotiate the Road Map. We hope that we will be able to get a better understanding of their comments and concerns.

There is another opportunity for the two sides to talk to one another before the week is out. Prime Minister Abu Mazen will be speaking to Prime Minister Sharon. This will be a good opportunity for the two sides to talk to one another about the issues of greatest concern to them. Israeli willingness to move down this path and Palestinian willingness and ability to deal with the security issues that are uppermost in the minds of the Israelis. So we have a Road Map that the United States is committed to, Jordan is committed to, other nations are committed to. It lays out the path that is the only path one can follow. We will wait to see what other comments Israel has on that Road Map. We will wait to see the results of the conversation between the two Prime Ministers, and then Prime Minister Sharon will be in Washington next week for conversations with the President. We will see where we go after that exchange of views.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, in recent weeks the United States has said that Al-Qaeda had been weakened. In light of what has happened in Saudi Arabia, what does this say about the U.S. war on terrorism and Al Qaedaís ability to operate in a place as secure as Saudi Arabia? And, to the Minister, if Prime Minister Sharon does not embrace the Road Map when he comes to Washington, what does that tell the Arab world.

SECRETARY POWELL: I believe that Al Qaeda has been weakened, but it has not been destroyed. It continues to present a threat to the world. If Al Qaeda ultimately is the one found responsible for what happened in Saudi Arabia overnight, it illustrates that it can still strike. All that means is that we have to keep on guard, we have to redouble our efforts, we have to cooperate even more closely with friends and allies around the world with respect to the exchange of information and intelligence. We have to continue chasing Al Qaeda finances around to drain them of their resources to conduct such acts. We have to do more with respect to defending our facilities and defending access to our countries so that we know who is coming into our countries and for what purpose. All it says to me is that the war continues. We have made some progress but it is not over. Al Qaeda still has the capacity to act, but we will not shrink from the task that is before us. We have no choice. We must prosecute this war with all the resources at our disposal.

FOREIGN MINISTER MUAHSER: Let me say, on the Road Map. It is, as you know, a series of steps that both sides have to take, starting with the security situation and ending with a two-state solution. The Road Map has everything that Israel needs in terms of addressing the security situation, so if the excuse is security, it is handled in the Road Map. We see no reason why any party should now reject a document that has been accepted by the U.S. President, the U.S. Administration, as well as the international community. We believe that acceptance of the Road Map and implementation of it is the true test of seriousness in trying to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Road Map does address the security situation, but it also addresses the political process that would lead to a two-state solution in three years. We hope and expect Israel, just as all other parties have, to accept it.

QUESTION: Is His Majesty King Abdullah going to visit Washington next month?

FOREIGN MINISTER MUASHER: The dates of the visit have not been assigned yet. We are working on a visit. I do expect it to happen sometime in the next few weeks, but we have not yet decided on a date. Thank you very much.


Released on May 13, 2003

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