Ban encourages Jordan and Arab neighbours to continue with reforms
“At this critical juncture, I am committed to supporting Arab countries in transition and the people that struggle for democracy, justice, dignity, human rights and economic opportunity,” Mr. Ban said during a joint press conference with Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh.
The past year has witnessed a wave of popular uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East, known as the Arab Spring, calling for greater freedoms and reforms and which led to the toppling of regimes in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
“Reform and transition to democracy should continue to take place,” said Mr. Ban. “The Arab region has a generational opportunity to create a future it deserves…
“Dignity and justice in this region are threatened, not only by authoritarian rule, but also by occupation and conflict,” he added.
The Secretary-General also commended Jordan for its strong commitment to the goals and values of the UN, noting that it is one of the top troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations.
“We work together for democracy, stability, peace, justice, development and prosperity across the Middle East and all throughout the world,” he stated.
Mr. Ban met separately with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh, in addition to his meeting with the Foreign Minister. He reiterated the UN’s continued support to the Jordanian people and encouraged the King on efforts for comprehensive and inclusive reforms.
The wide-ranging discussions with the leaders also touched on the Middle East peace process and the ongoing crisis in Syria that is having a growing impact on neighbouring countries, including Jordan, which is hosting some 2,500 Syrians who fled the violence in their country.
“It is more urgent than ever to put an end to this bloodshed and violence, to start a credible political solution that addresses the legitimate aspiration of the Syrian people and to protect their fundamental freedoms,” stated Mr. Ban.
He added that he hoped the Security Council meeting to be held later today in New York with the participation of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and the Prime Minister of Qatar “will bear good results, so that they can meet the expectations of the international community.”
Also today, Mr. Ban held a lunch meeting with Jordanian young people, who shared their views and opinions on their situation, priorities and aspirations in various areas, including education, employment and health.
Following his visit to Jordan, the Secretary-General will head to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in an effort to help move the peace process forward.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began preparatory talks at the beginning of January in Amman under the facilitation of King Abdullah and Mr. Judeh.