- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 12 Oct 1989, p. 45-52
- His Royal Highness King Hussein of Jordan, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club of Toronto. Some basic values and principles shared by Jordan and Canada. A review of Jordan's policies and the roots from whence they come. The decision of legal and administrative disengagement from the West Bank and its effects. An economic package put into effect by the Jordanian Government in the latter part of 1988; its aims and strategies. An exploration of Jordan's 1989 budget. Moving to a more self-reliant economy. The broadening of public participation in policy-making and decision-taking processes. An invitation to Canadian business investment and partnership. An expansion in Canadian-Jordanian economic cooperation. Canada as a promoter of what the speaker calls the "intellectual bridgehead" needed to resolve dichotomy between the international political framework and the international socio-economic framework. Some remarks about Canadian modesty and achievement. Some analogies to Jordan's activities in the Middle East. The Arab Cooperation Council: concepts and approaches. A review of Middle East problems, historically and politically. Approaches and progress towards peace. A declaration of Jordan's intention to continue to promote peace, justice, and stability within the Middle East. A view of Jordan's friendship and cooperation with Canada as instrumental in the success of the peace endeavour.
- Date of Original
- 12 Oct 1989
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
- His Royal Highness King Hussein of Jordan
CANADA AND JORDAN
Chairman: Joyce Kofman
President, The Canadian Club of Toronto
We are privileged to welcome today, to this joint meeting of the Canadian and Empire Clubs, His Majesty King Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
King Hussein needs little introduction. He was proclaimed king in 1952, at the early age of 17, and since that time has left his indelible mark on the history of Jordan and the Middle East. To Jordan he has brought stability, economic development, compassion and justice, and it is thanks to him that Jordan is today a tolerant and dynamic society. With regard to the Middle East as a whole, his devotion to the cause of peace and a just negotiated settlement is unparalleled, and he is known for his unceasing efforts to advance the prospects for negotiations in favour of a comprehensive settlement.
His Majesty has visited Canada on several previous occasions, most recently in 1981. During his present visit he has already had meetings in Ottawa with the Governor General and the Prime Minister, and he has addressed a joint session of Parliament.
Canada's relations with Jordan have known a remarkable expansion in recent years, and Ontario businesses and enterprises have been very active in this growth. Among Ontario firms active in Jordan are Capsule
Technologies International Ltd., Ontario Hydro, and Agrodev. We are hopeful that this visit will help us to know each other better and perhaps to lay the base for further co-operation of this sort.
We feel particularly favoured, Your Majesty, that you have chosen this joint meeting of the Canadian Club and the Empire Club for one of your principal public speaking occasions during this visit to Canada, and it is an honour for me to invite you to address this meeting.
His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan:
Madame Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen. The Canadian Enclyopedia considers the Indian-derived name of Toronto to mean: "Place of Meeting". My country, Jordan, has been for millennia a place of meeting not only of peoples but also of the three great monotheistic religions. In your modern city of Toronto things have somewhat changed since the times of Etienne Brulé and the fur traders! Indeed, trails and canoes have given place to your "little bang" and the $1 trillion money market of today! Our region of the Middle East has also been progressive into modernity. But although our "bangs" have regrettably tended to be of a different sort, hopes are high that the nineties will finally witness the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict which has been tearing our region apart for most of this century.
Though located in a dramatically different region of the globe, Jordan shares with Canada a number of basic values and principles. The multicultural character of your heritage, your interest in protecting minorities and refugees, your constructive internationalism and increased awareness of global interdependence are all admired by the Jordanian people. In Jordan, our answer to demographic upheaval and environmental dislocation has been to emphasize socioeconomic development as providing the strongest underpinnings for future peace. Our policies have stemmed from the Islamic and Arab traditions of tolerance, moderation and pluralism which we, as Hashemites, have inherited and upheld. Respect for the individual human being, protection of minorities, and building on complementary positions have been the underlying principles of our actions and policies in the face of extremism.
It has been stated that the start of a new decade often acts as a trigger for organizations to rethink strategies. This notion, I am sure, is well-known and frequently practiced by the distinguished elite of Canadian business leaders gathered here today. l earnestly hope that the start of this forthcoming decade does indeed trigger a rethinking of strategies and inflexible positions by some decision-makers in our region. As is widely known, Jordan has recently undertaken strategic, or rather, historic decisions in both the political and economic spheres.
Politically, the decision of legal and administrative dis.,,, engagement from the West Bank triggered a chain of events that has taken the peace process out of its cul-de-sac. The courageous decision of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to recognize Israel on the basis of a two state solution will hopefully lead to a realistic reassessment of inflexible positions and standpoints in the region.
In the latter part of 1988, a much-needed and effective economic package was put into effect by the Jordanian Government. It simultaneously aims at achieving stabilization of the economy and sectoral adjustment. It is based on a balanced strategy, tackling both the aggregate demand and the aggregate supply sides of the economy. Stabilization would be achieved through managed reductions in fiscal deficits, starting with the Government budget of 1989.,
The 1989 budget is the first step in a suitable fiscal plan of action over the next five years, tackling both the revenue and expenditure sides. This plan aims at bringing down successively the level of fiscal deficit relative to G.D.P. This, in turn, will help to achieve a much-needed adjustment of domestic aggregate demand to the reduced level of external resources. This has been coupled with sectoral adjustment policies acting on the supply side through the floating of the Jordanian dinar, floating of interest rates and deregulating the economy to enhance efficiency and flexibility.
Further measures were introduced following Jordan's agreement with the IMF to bolster the national economy and increase public revenue. Although the fund projections cover the period to 1993 only, the outlook beyond that will be carefully considered. Jordan has begun the implementation of the reform measures as agreed with the IMF to make the necessary adjustment to its economy. Such adjustments are not easy or painless.
Moreover, Jordan is determined to make the necessary moves entailed in the development of a more self-reliant economy. Plans have also been laid to broaden public participation in the policy-making and the decision-taking processes. It is realized that people must be aware of the nature of the threats to their economic well-being and to the stability of the state.
The Jordanian economy has been put on a new course that provides attractive investment opportunities in manufacturing, services, and tourism. The Canadian business community is especially welcome to participate as partners in this new phase of development. It is well known that Canadian-Jordanian economic cooperation has expanded rapidly at the official level in recent years. Cooperation at the private sector level will further enhance relations between our two nations.
Ladies and gentlemen, in these closing years of the 20th century, humanity desperately needs a non-partisan "intellectual bridgehead" to resolve the apparent dichotomy between the international political framework and the international socio-economic framework. The spirit behind the improved world political climate should be reflected equally in efforts to deal with pressing economic and social problems that are causing tremors in numerous parts of the world.
Canada, I believe, is well positioned to help promote what I have called the "intellectual bridgehead" urgently needed by mankind. Some observers consider that Canadians are modest about their attributes. Canada became one of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations two years ago. Though Canada had the lowest gross domestic product (GDP) amongst the Group of Seven (G7), it had the second highest per capita income after the United States. Last year, the heads of states of the Group of Seven chose your distinguished city of Toronto as a "place of meeting" for their summit. The Toronto Economic Declaration, affirmed the necessity for the Group of Seven governments to "consider fully the international dimensions of their deliberations". This reflects an awareness on the part of those world leaders of the concerns of the south. Such side-effects as high interest rates and their impact on the developing world are receiving more adequate attention. A spirit such as that of Canada's multicultural heritage can help turn dichotomy and potential confrontation between north and south into a true partnership for the prosperity of mankind.
It is within a similar spirit that Jordan has been advocating the concept of regional and inter-regional economic cooperation. Within the Arab world, the Maghreb Council, comprising Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania as well as Tunisia and the Gulf Cooperation Council evolved into blocks to allow for wider cooperation among member countries. A third potential regional building block is the newly established Arab Cooperation Council comprising Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and North Yemen which forms the central spine of the Arab world, linking the African Maghreb with the Peninsular Gulf Council through the centrality of Jordan's geographical position. The Arab Cooperation Council comprises nearly half the population of the Arab world and borders three seas and two very important shipping lanes.
The concept behind the Arab Cooperation Council is based on a practical approach to build on complimentary positions that already exist and on a moderation in outlook to the outside world, rather than on pure political dogma. A sectoral approach, whether in terms of the environment, basic resources (such as water and energy) or infrastructure (such as transport and development) should promote stability within this important region, containing, as it does, the hotspots of the Gulf, Palestine and the Lebanon. Furthermore, this central spine of the Arab Cooperation Council is contiguous to the non-Arab nations of the region such as Turkey, Israel and Iran. Jordan's concept will hopefully make these borderlines with other nations a meeting ground of positive interaction and complementarily, rather than war zones of conflict and turmoil. As the 1992 dateline of the dismantling of barriers in Europe rapidly approaches, Jordan's paradigm for regional cooperation stands in sharp contrast to outmoded concepts of exclusivity adopted elsewhere in the region.
The importance of our region, the Middle East, is rooted in the central position it has always commanded between ancient civilizations and as a crossroad between east and west. The huge energy resources that it commands have made it a nerve centre for the world. Perhaps it is the centrality of this region that has caused it to suffer more than its fair share from upheavals and turmoil.
The Middle East has been embroiled in the Palestinian problem for well over 70 years. We still see Israel hanging on to extremist positions that have hindered the achievement of a just and comprehensive settlement in this area, despite the fact that the Arab countries in general and the PLO in particular have now accepted the principle of land in exchange for peace on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and the right of all nations to exist within safe and secure boundaries. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is now in its 23rd year. The Palestinian National Uprising, the Intifada, approaches its second anniversary. Yet, the leadership with which Palestinians identify, the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, remains disenfranchized, and the Palestinian people are still denied their right to self-determination on their national soil in the occupied territories. It is our belief that the best possible way to achieve the desired settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict is through the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which call for the Israeli withdrawal from the Arab occupied territories in return for peace. The appropriate venue for the negotiations is an international conference to be convened under the auspices of the United Nations. Not only would such an arrangement bestow a measure of international legitimacy on the peace process, it is the forum where direct negotiations can take place. It is hoped that the industrial world in general, and the two superpowers in particular, would assume a more direct role in smoothing the machinery of the peace process through easing tensions, reducing frictions, and suggesting alternative ways of tackling particularly difficult issues.
The tragic war in the Lebanon has added a new dimension to the Middle East conflict. The Lebanon is a reminder of the waste of human lives and resources that has been caused by the ravage of interference of outside powers. We see a ray of hope emanating from the latest mediation effort of the Arab League Tripartite Committee. We are hopeful that this effort will bear fruit and Lebanon's unity, national integrity and sovereignty can be restored. Full national reconciliation, and the withdrawal of all foreign armies are imperatives for the achievement of these goals.
Just as important to enhancing stability and progress in this region is the ending of the "no-peace-no-war" situation between Iraq and Iran. The ceasefire, that is a prelude to a peaceful settlement, should not turn into a permanent truce. International efforts should be directed towards the implementation of Security Council resolution 598. Continuation of this situation is not only a drain on the resources of both sides, but also a recipe for a possible resumption of hostilities which would bring back the massive human suffering and endanger the flow of energy resources to the world.
It is our fervent belief that any progress towards a meaningful peace settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict will have a direct and positive impact on the tragic situation in Lebanon and the potentially explosive "no-peace-no-war" situation between Iraq and Iran. No doubt such progress will stop in its tracks that wave of extremist policies that have plagued our area.
I am sure that you are all fully aware that the continuation of the Palestinian problem, without a meaningful solution until now, has left a magnitude of negative effects on all the states of the area. It is my belief that, of all the Arab states, Jordan has suffered most and, may I add, continues to suffer, because of the continuation of the "no-war-no-peace" situation that has placed a tremendous drain on Jordan's limited economic and financial resources.
Jordan, in its own modest way has done, and will continue to do, all it can to promote peace, justice, and stability within the Middle East. Jordan regards its friendship and cooperation with Canada as instrumental in the success of this endeavour.
The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by Sarah Band, President, The Empire Club of Canada.
Your Majesty, it is my honour today to express the thanks of the members of the Canadian and Empire Clubs and our guests.
And in thanking you I will quote one of Canada's outstanding authors, Robertson Davies. "Thank you", is excellent, but formal and English in effect.'Thanks a million' is excellent, but it has an American extravagance which is unbecoming in Canadian mouths. What would you think of 'Thanks a hundred thousand'? It seems to me to strike the right Canadian note."
We have many things for which to thank you today. For choosing this occasion as a focal point of your visit to Canada, and for the depth of understanding you have shared with us about our two countries.
Your Majesty, please accept our thanks. As we Canadians say; thanks a hundred thousand.