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Ball in political powers’ court to form parties, win votes — King

His Majesty meets with journalists, voices optimism in Jordan’s future, potential

By JT - Dec 24,2018 - Last updated at Dec 24,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with journalists at Al Husseiniya Palace on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday voiced optimism in Jordan’s future and the potential it holds, noting that the ball is now in the court of the government, political powers and society to capitalise on these opportunities.

During a meeting with journalists at Al Husseiniya Palace, King Abdullah expressed surprise at those undermining Jordan’s potential and those who lack the ambition to realise it, describing them as exploiting people’s difficult conditions to gain popularity, a Royal Court statement said.

“They pretend to be with the people and to be concerned over their interests, in an attempt to gain fame at the expense of the nation,” His Majesty said.

The King added: “Jordan has been through tough times over the past years, and I am fully aware of what is taking place in my country, in the region and in our world.”

His Majesty said conditions have started to improve, noting that “Gulf countries have stood by us, and we appreciate that. The whole world, including Europe, Japan and the United States has also supported us”.

“Our international relations have never been better, to the extent that the United States has increased the assistance it provides for us, and we are grateful for their support,” the King continued.

His Majesty noted that conditions in Syria are improving, “and we wish Syria well”.

“God willing, it would be business as usual once again, and conditions in Iraq have been notably improving. We are in constant communication with them to open markets to our products, and the prime minister will be visiting Baghdad before the end of the year,” the King said.

His Majesty explained that the disruption of gas supplies from Egypt posed a major problem for Jordan, but now work is under way to resume supplies, according to the statement.

The King also noted that he is following the improvement in the tourism sector.

“My message to the prime minister, officials, deputies, senators, and all political powers is that the answer lies in economic growth and promoting investment,” His Majesty said.

“I advise officials not to hesitate. We have overcome the tough decisions and we must now focus on economic growth, investment promotion, improving services, and providing job opportunities for youth,” the King noted.

His Majesty continued: “Some are saying focus is being given to economic reform at the expense of political reform, disregarding the fact that we worked for a long time on thorough political reforms that led to an election law in 2016 that was widely accepted as a modern piece of legislation.

“The single vote [system] was scrapped, and the proportional lists requested by the people were adopted.”

The King added: “At the time, even [the Muslim Brotherhood] who had opposed the previous law accepted the new one.”

“The current law may require some minor amendments here and there, and I support that. But at its core, it is a strong law,” His Majesty stressed.

The King said: “Everyone wants a law that gains consensus, although we have already agreed on this. Today, the ball is in the court of political powers, which must form parties and win votes. I will not hold people’s hands and form their parties for them.”

“We have set the grounds for democracy. The rest is up to them. From the very beginning, with the Discussion Papers, I supported this direction. And I am in contact with a number of [parliamentary] blocs, officials, deputies, senators, and political parties and powers. With the start of the new year, I will step up this communication. We must also focus on the role of youth, which is very important,” His Majesty added.

The King said “the last elections were transparent and open to international monitoring institutions, which commended their integrity”, adding that the people are ready for democracy but political powers must organise themselves, the statement added.

“The country needs people who roll up their sleeves and work honestly and courageously, not those who hide behind their desks,” His Majesty affirmed.

“I hope rumours are avoided,” the King said, noting that he is considering the appointment of a spokesperson or a media adviser at the Royal Hashemite Court to “deal with this distortion of information that I keep hearing”.

Noting the London conference, slated for early next year to support Jordan’s economy and promote investment, the King said a conference will be held at the Dead Sea with the participation of the government, the Senate and House of Representatives, the private sector, professional associations, civil society institutions, youth, and the media to identify priorities and economic sectors that must be tackled in the coming phase.

The King said these priorities must be detailed to the Jordanian public to bolster trust between citizens and institutions.

His Majesty also stressed the importance of developing the governorates and securing job opportunities for youth.

During a discussion with the attending journalists, the King also noted the importance of administrative reform and the need to expedite the completion of the e-government project to streamline procedures for citizens and investors.

His Majesty highlighted the important role of the media in expressing various opinions and putting forward suggestions on identifying economic priorities and opportunities.

The meeting covered domestic and regional issues, with the King reiterating Jordan’s steadfast position on the Palestinian cause, which is known to all.

His Majesty reaffirmed that Jordan, with the perseverance of the Nashama of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and security agencies, is capable of safeguarding its borders and achievements.

“There is no fear over the security of our borders,” the King said.

For their part, the media figures stressed the need to work according to practical action plans to improve economic performance, attract investments, develop services and continue administrative reforms.

They noted the importance of developing governorates and granting governorate councils the authority to identify development priorities and implement small- and medium-sized projects that would improve services and development.

They also commended His Majesty’s efforts to establish economic ties with a number of countries around the world, calling for building on these efforts to attract investments and enable Jordanian products to penetrate international markets, the statement said.

The media, they said, have a major responsibility in promoting positive attitudes and hope while highlighting Jordan’s achievements over the years despite the difficult conditions in the region.

The journalists also affirmed the importance of moving forward in economic and political reforms, and in developing laws that bolster citizens’ engagement in decision making.

Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi and Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas attended the meeting.

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