The visit of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to Jordan for talks with His Majesty King Abdullah has a special significance at this critical period in time, when the Middle East is undergoing rapid transformations in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Jordan’s drive to effect reforms is no doubt recognised and appreciated by the visiting Italian leader. Unlike in other countries in the region, the calls for change were made peacefully, with very few exceptions, and constructively. They were heeded by the government, albeit at a slower pace than desired by many.
Italy occupies a pivotal role in Europe. Jordan and Italy have always enjoyed the best relations and this high-level visit is expected to build on the already solid foundation the two countries’ ties are based on.
EU, in general, and Italy, in particular, are aware of the special role Jordan plays to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians on the basis of the two-state solution.
Jordan also wishes to see an end to the Syrian conflict and promote peace and stability there, according to the Arab League plan. The Kingdom has lent its full support to the Arab League-UN envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan for Syria.
Rome, no doubt, has much to say about the various conflicts and burning problems in the area. Besides the Palestinian and Syrian conflicts, there is also the standoff between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear programme, the resolution of which, Jordan advises, lies in peaceful means not in military confrontation.
The Italian president will no doubt enjoy the well-known Jordanian hospitality, see the vestiges of the Roman civilisation at historical sites bearing witness to the presence of his ancestors on our land and, hopefully, convey to his people and to Europe at large the Kingdom’s readiness to embrace reforms and its desire for peace in the region.