Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate. It was scheduled to hear addresses by the Foreign Ministers of Cape Verde, San Marino, Jordan, Bahamas, Sudan, Lithuania and Tajikistan.
KHALED MADADHA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan, said the peoples of his region had suffered devastating wars over the past five decades. Signs of hope had appeared with the convening of the Madrid peace conference in 1991 and the ensuing bilateral and multilateral negotiations between Arabs and Israelis. Palestinian hopes revived following the Oslo accord of 1993 and the interim self-government agreement. Hope was also rekindled by the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel and the progress made on the Syrian-Israeli and Syrian-Lebanese peace tracks.
What was happening in the occupied territories now, however, was a series of negative developments, he said. They included a return to the policy of building settlements, violation of holy places, closure of the territories, denial of work opportunities, refusal to implement signed agreements, postponement of self-government negotiations, and a unilateral determination on the status of Jerusalem. They also included refusal to resume negotiations with Syria and Lebanon from where they stopped seven months ago, and a refusal to return to the terms of reference and framework of the Madrid peace conference.
Despite the excessively negative slogans of the new Israeli Government during its election campaign, Jordan had welcomed the new Prime Minister out of respect for the free will of the Israeli people. Jordan had also called for continuation of the comprehensive peace process. Nevertheless, calls were again being heard for revival of the obsolete theory that security can be achieved through force.
In the midst of the current gloom, a ray of hope remained, which must not be lost, he said. If it was, a new cycle of violence, instability, terror and extremism might come to prevail in the region. The course of war and destruction, and the ensuing peace process, had been described as a series of missed opportunities. Now, there was the danger of a return to those insane policies. By challenging the opponents of peace, President Arafat and the Palestinian leadership had demonstrated a serious and clear desire for peace. It was not wise to reward him by embarrassing him before his Palestinian people and putting him in a difficult position with the opponents of peace who believed his course would fail. It was time to return to working together in the peace process, so the peoples of the region might have a chance for a better life after decades of death and destruction.
One of the most important factors that gave credibility to the Middle East peace process was the improvement in living conditions through increased investments, that would result in lowered unemployment, he said. Jordan had taken a number of steps to promote investment. It was regrettable that, despite those measures and guarantees, and the convening of two international economic summit conferences, actual foreign investment in the region remained small. If private companies might be reluctant to invest, out of historical and political fears, the governments of industrial countries had no excuse for failing to give sufficient guarantees against such investment risks.