Embassy of Jordan Hosts 68th Anniversary of the Independence Day of Jordan and the Jordan Armed Forces Day

Welcoming Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Alia Bouran at the 68th Independence Day Celebration & Jordan Armed Forces Day

May 29, 2014
Washington, DC

Deputy Assistant Secretary Gerry Feierstein,

Fellow Ambassadors, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

On behalf of HRH Princess Aisha bint al Hussein, theDefense, Military, Naval, and Air Attaché, I would like to extend to you the warmest regards of His Majesty King Abdullah II, the people and the government of Jordan. Thank you all for being with us today to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the Independence Day and the Jordan Armed Forces Day.

Every year we gather here to celebrate our beloved country, its achievements, values, sacrifices and its future. This great day embodies all that we hold dear, our great history filled with honor and dignity and a future of promise, hope, peace and stability thanks to His Majesty’s leadership and vision, and the dedication of its hardworking and generous people.

And every year, I take this opportunity to emphasize the historic and solid friendship between the people of Jordan and the people of the United States. It’s not just a friendship; it’s a true partnership based on a common strategic vision, shared principles and values that have governed this unique relationship for over six decades.

Distinguished guests,

I had the honor of accompanying His Majesty King Abdullah II on his recent working visit to the West Coast with members of the Jordanian private sector.During his various meetings with leading US companies, His Majesty highlighted available opportunities in promising Jordanian sectors: information technology, health, services, education and renewable energy. Just to give you a small example: information technology is now the fastest growing sector in our economy, it contributes 12 percent of our GDP, creates 80,000 jobs, responsible for 75 percent of the Arabic content of the internet and avails Jordan as the gateway to more than 350 million people in the Arab world. This is the vision that made the Kingdom a regional pioneer in this field alone.

This is a country that fosters and encourages entrepreneurship, young businesses, creative thinking and women empowerment in business and public life. Jordanian startups in Silicon Valley have shown so much promise and desire to connect both our worlds to build bridges and maximize potentials. These American-Jordanian success stories are not limited to information technology but are also highlighted in renewable energy projects, advanced state of-the-art medical services and so much more.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would also like to draw your attention that this Sunday our Parliament will engage with the government on a number of laws driven by our National Constitution and reflective of our ongoing evolutionary reform process. These laws aim to provide the necessary tools and help facilitate our ongoing political reform, strengthen laws on political participation and empowerment, as well as enhance economic investment and trade.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Jordan’s open doors have always been a strategic choice and the key ingredient of its strength and fortitude. Our doors have remained open during the prolonged Syrian crisis, which has taken a toll on the Kingdom. Syrians today constitute 20 percent of our population. Since the crisis began, over 600,000 registered refugees have sought safe haven in our country. This is in addition to the 700,000 Syrian economic migrant workers who were already in the Kingdom. Needless to say, this influx has over-stretched our infrastructure and services and is draining our already limited resources. As we speak, a Syrian family has sought refuge and safety and crossed the border into Jordan.

Jordan continues to work closely with the international community to alleviate the burdens placed on the host communities who are sharing the little they have with their fellow Syrians. Just last week on the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Jordan, His Holiness addressed the international community from Amman and acknowledged Jordan as a leader in peace and security efforts on both regional and international levels and that it always managed to open its arms to others in times of distress.

I cannot but emphasize enough our thanks and deep appreciation for the United States for its ongoing and continuous support to Jordan during these challenging times to shoulder the humanitarian needs, in what is today described as the worst humanitarian crisis of modern times.

We believe a political process to the crisis is needed urgently – one that guarantees the safety and unity of the Syrian territories. This can only be achieved through comprehensive dialogue among all constituents of the Syrian people.

Distinguished guests,

Jordan is the strongest advocate for dialogue and inclusiveness and this is reflected in Jordan’s stance on many issues, especially when it comes to the region’s core crisis – the Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts. I would like to take this moment to recognize and acknowledge our gratitude and appreciation to US President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for their relentless efforts and commitment to the peace talks. Jordan believes the Arab Peace Initiative is the only path moving forward, and the only solution is a two-state solution – an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side next to a secure Israel, in peace with all its neighbors.

Those are some thoughts that I wanted to share with you on this great day. Once again, thank you all for joining us this evening. Please enjoy yourselves.