Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh today in Amman, Jordan. Following their meeting, Secretary Clinton said:
"...The United States values our strong, close relationship, our very important partnership with Jordan. It is rooted in respect and common purpose. And today, I am very pleased to announce that yesterday a new Millennium Challenge Corporation compact was voted on that will invest more than $275 million in sustainable development here in Jordan. We worked very hard on this, and it was in partnership with the Jordanian Government that we looked at the needs that the people of Jordan have. We consulted broadly, outside even the Jordanian Government, with the private sector, with academics, experts, and others. And constantly, we heard, 'Help Jordan deal with the water and waste water issues that affect people across the country.'
"So this compact will help rehabilitate the water supply network, improve waste water collection and irrigation, and expand a key waste water treatment plant. This investment will create jobs for the people of Jordan, so it has the added benefit of not only building infrastructure that will help people in their homes, in their businesses, and provide a base for further economic development, but put people to work right now. And at the end, more than one million Jordanians will be supplied with safe and reliable access to clean drinking water for the very first time."
The Secretary continued, "...There's a saying that Jordan punches above its weight. It may not be a huge population, but it has a commitment to excellence in so many areas.
"Jordan has continued to help build a stable, sovereign, and self-reliant Iraq, and I want to thank the government and people of Jordan for the assistance that you give to Iraqi refugees. I know that that was a difficult responsibility to accept, but I thank you for carrying it forward.
"I also thank the government and people of Jordan for your efforts on behalf of peacekeeping missions around the world, where Jordan has proven time and time again to be a force for peace and progress.
"And of course, as Nasser said, Jordan is a crucial partner working to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and bring a comprehensive peace to the Middle East. We were honored to host King Abdullah II in Washington as these talks got underway, and I want to publicly thank him, as I privately have, for his contributions both to the resumption of direct negotiations and to the constructive beginning that has occurred. Jordan's steadfast support for this process is essential. And today, His Majesty and I discussed ongoing negotiations and I expressed my confidence that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas can make the difficult decisions necessary to resolve all of the core issues within one year."
Secretary Clinton concluded, "...We believe that not only is it important to pursue the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, but a comprehensive regional peace, the vision that is at the heart of the Arab Peace Initiative. And Nasser and I have spent a lot of time talking about the remarkable document that the Arab Peace Initiative is. I'm not sure many Arabs nor many Israelis have read it, and I would commend to you, particularly those of you in the media, read this document that was begun as a wholly Arab initiative. It was led by, it was written by, it was promulgated by Arab leaders. And it holds out the very promise that we seek.
"And also, we are seeking to determine what direction we can head in order to pursue peace between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon. To this end, Senator Mitchell is on his way for consultations in Damascus and Beirut. We believe that progress toward regional peace will support and give confidence to the direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and also bring peace to those countries as well.
"Now, I hope that we keep in mind what is possible, because I think peace is possible. And I also think peace is necessary. I will always remember watching the late King Hussein as he signed a treaty that ended decades of war with Israel. That was a historic achievement that continues to inspire me. And under the leadership of King Abdullah II, Jordan has continued to demonstrate its willingness to make difficult decisions in the name of peace that will lead to stability and security.
"So with the commitment of an Israeli prime minister and a Palestinian president who both embrace the goal of a two-state solution, peace is once again within our reach. But it is really going to be up to all of us. The leaders may meet in the room and discuss these issues, the negotiators may debate around the table, but peace only comes from the people themselves. And I would ask that all of the people of this region do what you can to promote the possibility and then the reality of peace.
"So again, let me thank Jordan and particularly my friend, the Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, for your leadership and your active involvement in the pursuit of this important goal -- important for Jordan, for the Palestinian people, Israel, the United States, and all the world who cares about what we are achieving and attempting to accomplish here today."
Read the Secretary's full remarks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh here.