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Saturday, May 30

His Majesty honors veteran Jordanian industrialists

His Majesty honored 99 veteran industrialists by presenting them with shields and certificates of merit in recognition of their efforts in industrializing the Kingdom. The group represented the first major industries which were established in the Kingdom. Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Hani Mulki said during the meeting that Jordan now has more than 2000 industrial enterprises, employing about 12 per cent of the workforce and contributing to around 22 per cent of the gross natural product (GNP). Furthermore, he added that industrial exports account for almost 90 per cent of the country’s overall exports, earning Jordan JD900 million annually and exporting to 110 countries.

Thursday, May 28

His Majesty inaugurates Jordan Television Channel 3

Wednesday, May 27

His Majesty opens the new Balqa’ Applied University

King Hussein formally opened the Balqa’ Applied University (BAU) in Salt (west of Amman) today. The University will serve as an umbrella for a network of community colleges to facilitate the training of a skilled and qualified workforce to meet the needs of the labor market. Jordan’s population of 4.7 million people today has 4,500 schools, 46 community colleges, seven state universities and 12 private universities for the 1.4 million students.

His Majesty receives US Congressmen

His Majesty met a US congressional delegation headed by House Speaker Newt Gingrich. King Hussein commended the Clinton administration’s relentless effort to push the peace process forward. Referring to Iraq, the King called for opening direct dialogue between it and the US in order to reach a solution in preparation for lifting the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people. In addition, King Hussein called for finding a suitable solution to end the sanctions on Libya. The House Speaker, for his part, paid tribute to the King’s efforts to establish peace in the region, saying that the King enjoys high credibility throughout the world.

Tuesday, May 26

Egyptian Foreign Minister Musa briefs His Majesty at Raghadan Palace

King Hussein received visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa, who carried with him a message from President Hosni Mubarak. The message focused on the 15-month-old deadlock in the peace process and the efforts exerted by Arab and European parties to put it back on track. The Foreign Minister also briefed His Majesty on President Mubarak’s talks earlier this week with French President Jacques Chirac and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

His Majesty lays the cornerstone for Le Royale Hotel Complex

Their Majesties attended the cornerstone laying ceremony of Le Royale Hotel Complex and Tower. The 14,450-square-meter complex is located in the Third Circle area of Jabal Amman and will include a five star hotel with 300 rooms, a shopping mall and a recreational center.

King Hussein and Queen Noor attend unveiling ceremony

Their Majesties opened a building for the Amman Municipality Ras Al ‘Ain and unveiled a commemorative plaque for the Ras Al ‘Ain Cultural Center. Later His Majesty laid a cornerstone for a mosque to accommodate 2,000 worshippers.

Monday, May 25

Jordan celebrates its independence day

Their Majesties King Hussein and Queen Noor attended a celebration on the occasion of Jordan’s 52nd independence anniversary today. His Majesty accepted congratulations from some 3,500 people assembled at the Al-Hussein Youth City.

Saturday, May 24

Their Majesties returned to the Kingdom after a short private visit to the United Kingdom

Wednesday, May 20

His Majesty addresses members of the government at Basman Palace

During a meeting today with members of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities gathered in the Royal Court, King Hussein said that the 14 month stalemate in the peace process showed that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has “no respect for the Palestinians and no commitment to the resolutions and agreements signed, such as U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, and Oslo and Hebron accords.” King Hussein also criticized Mr. Netanyahu’s threat to exclude the European Union from the peace process if it continues to describe the Palestinian territories as occupied land. The King also called on all Palestinians to stay united behind Palestinian President Arafat, “because any division, God forbid, constitutes a weakness and causes harm and disaster that might befall the Palestinians, and us as well.” His Majesty went on to outline the shortcomings, as well as the achievements, of the three authorities of the state, and urged a new era of cooperation and understanding between government and opposition. He called on the government to engage in direct dialogue, “not only through correspondents, but through follow-ups, contacts and research,” with the opposition. On the other hand, King Hussein asked the 80,000-member strong unions to “offer professional services to raise the standards of their professions in the full sense of the word.” The King continued: “I look forward to seeing dialogue taking place about every law and I hope we can enlist the help of the judicial authority so that no draft law can reach the Lower House until it has been fully studied and is convincing and meets all conditions.” The deadlock in relations between the government and opposition was broken during a visit by His Majesty to the Union of Professional Associations headquarters, a few days earlier. Following King Hussein’s address today, he ordered the release of all other prisoners arrested in connection to the Ma’an disturbances, which took place to protest the threatened US air strikes on Iraq. The King added: “As to the demonstrations, I realize the feelings of our people and more than anyone else, I feel disturbed after having gone through frustrations and so many setbacks...but we should not lose hope and...in expressing our feelings we should follow a civilized pattern if we really want to help...in ways that benefit the people. But chaos and rioting achieve nothing.” Turning to the situation in Iraq, His Majesty said that the United Nations embargo on Iraq would never lead to the downfall of the Iraqi leadership and that the embargo should be lifted. “If anybody believes that Iraq will be forced (by the sanctions) to make changes, this is nonsense and unjustified talk.” King Hussein reiterated his desire for a direct dialogue between Washington and Baghdad: “If the two sides could discuss relations between them in Geneva before the (1991 Gulf) war, why can’t they now speak to one another, present their terms and their conditions, and speak about their fears of mass-destruction weapons?”

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Their Majesties leave the Kingdom this evening on a private visit to the United Kingdom

Tuesday, May 19

Parliamentarians praise King Hussein

Politicians hailed His Majesty’s recent meeting with union leaders as a step that would give a new momentum to the Kingdom’s democratization process. King Hussein’s meeting with the professional association yesterday is seen as a means to restore a climate of trust and understanding between the government and the opposition. “It is a good beginning and we hope that further moves will follow in the same direction in order to foster serious dialogue between the government and all political forces,” commented Islamic Action Front (IAF) Secretary General Abdul Latif Arabyiat.

Monday, May 18

The Vatican commends King Hussein

The Vatican reaffirmed its support for the efforts made by King Hussein and Crown Prince El Hassan towards the establishment of peace in the Middle East and for encouraging dialogue among the three monotheistic faiths, securing free worship and protecting human rights. The Vatican’s views were conveyed by the chargé d’affaires at the Vatican embassy in Amman, who lauded Jordan’s efforts towards safeguarding the religious status of the Holy City of Jerusalem. The chargé d’affaires stressed the Vatican’s outright rejection of Israel’s claims to the Holy City as its capital, arguing that Jerusalem should be open for all and no one should claim sovereignty.

King Hussein meet with the Professional Associations

His Majesty met with the presidents of the professional associations today, opening a new chapter in the strained relations between the government and the unions. Relations between the unions and the government of Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali have been strained since November 1997, when the 80,000 strong Union of Professional Associations joined the Islamic Action Front opposition party in the boycott of the general elections. His Majesty expressed hope that the unions will serve as institutions to qualify and train young generations of professionals who will usher the Kingdom into a brighter future. During the meeting the king said, “We must learn from the suffering that we endured in the past five decades and from the 1967 and 1973 wars, unprepared and ill-planned steps that the Arabs took without an accurate analysis of the circumstances.” King Hussein said that Jordan took part in those wars out of its national commitment and duty towards the nation, despite the fact that it was not informed of the plans for the 1973 war. In reference to the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, the king said “We went to Madrid with Arab consensus and provided the Palestinians with an umbrella that enabled them to take part in the conference...(and today) Jordan is committed to stand by the Palestinians until they gain their rights on their national soil.” Union leaders said that King Hussein’s visit gave them a great deal of hope that an open and frank dialogue with the government will solve outstanding issues between the two sides, including a much-awaited draft law to govern the associations’ activities and organization. The chairman of the council of presidents of the unions, Mr. Abu Gheida, said: “His Majesty gave us assurance that he will look into our requests...we (represent) 13 associations, each with its problems and ideas which will be presented to His Majesty very, very soon.” King Hussein also ordered the release of outspoken opposition figure Leith Shbeilat, jailed for instigating the February 1998 Ma’an disturbances, in which one man was killed and twenty-four others injured.

Sunday, May 17

Their Majesties attend military ceremony

King Hussein and Queen Noor attended a celebration today for the renewal and consolidation of the bonds of friendship between the British Household Cavalry and the Arab Army, which was represented by the Royal Guard’s Brigade. The commemoration is traditional, first marked on June 1, 1946 when the Arab Legion presented the Household Cavalry with the Standard as an expression of the bonds of friendship between the two brigades. Following the celebration His Majesty watched an aerial performance by the British Red Arrows.

Saturday, May 16

President Cotti arrives for a state visit to Jordan

The President of Switzerland, His Excellency Mr. Flavio Cotti, arrived in Jordan for a state visit. During the joint press conference King Hussein expressed regret over Thursday’s (May 14) killing of nine Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, calling it a “sign of despair”. His Majesty continued, saying that “without peace and without the overwhelming majority of people that believe in peace defending it, working for it, believing in it, security can never really be a reality.” President Cotti stressed that Jordan and Switzerland shared the same concern over the negative impact of the 14 month stalemate in the peace process on people’s lives: “I believe there is only one way (to break the deadlock), and that way is called dialogue and respect of the signed agreements.”

Click here for the text of the press conference

President Arafat in Jordan for talks

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat met His Majesty in the Royal Hashemite Court and discussed the latest outbreak of Middle East violence and Israel’s refusal to make a further troop withdrawal from the West Bank. The President’s visit was part of the continued coordination between Jordan and the Palestinian National Authority, in which the two leaders also considered the possibility of holding an Arab meeting to discuss the faltering peace process.

Wednesday, May 13

The Pope praises King Hussein

Pope John Paul II paid tribute to King Hussein and lauded the King’s efforts to establish a comprehensive, durable and just peace in the Middle East region. The Pope’s statement came during a meeting with the Jordanian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Mr. Akel Biltaji who was delivering a message from His Majesty on the latest developments of the peace process.

Tuesday, May 12

Karamah Dam is opened

His Majesty inaugurated the Karamah Dam in the Jordan Valley today. In remarks to the press, King Hussein said that Jordan will spare no effort to meet the water needs of all Jordanians and to ensure sufficient water resources for industry and agriculture. Asked about regional cooperation on water in the Jordan Rift Valley and the pledges made by different nations to offer help, the King commented, “I believe these efforts have faltered as (a result of) a halt in meetings between the concerned parties. This in my view is wrong. However, it is hoped that we will make up for this delay in the future.” The dam was built by a consortium of local and foreign firms, it is 45 meters high, 2,150 meters long, with a capacity of up to 55 million cubic meters and will irrigate 60,000 dunums in the Jordan Valley.

Monday, May 11

His Majesty receives a letter from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein

King Hussein met Iraqi Foreign Minister Muhammad Sahhaf in Raghadan Palace today. The Iraqi minister handed King Hussein a letter from President Saddam Hussein on Baghdad’s endeavors to lift the United Nations sanctions. The letter dealt with the latest developments between Iraq and the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and expressed the Iraqi leadership’s desire to cooperate with the commission “positively”. During the meeting His Majesty stressed that Jordan was exerting all efforts it could, through the Security Council and the United States, to lift the sanctions and end the suffering of the Iraqi people. His Majesty said to Minister Sahhaf that the “shortest way to achieve this goal was to speed up the implementation of the Security Council resolutions and to continue cooperation with the commission.”

Their Majesties receive the director of the Landmine Survivors Network

His Majesty briefly joined Her Majesty Queen Noor at their home, Bab Al-Salaam, to meet Mr. Jerry White, the executive director of the Landmine Survivors Network (LSN). They discussed LSN’s plan to hold, in Amman, its first international conference entitled “Landmine Injury and Rehabilitation in the Middle East,” which is dedicated to landmine victim assistance. Mr. White remarked that Jordan’s “reputation as an emerging medical center of excellence, and its leadership in the Middle East for its care for the disabled make it an ideal place to host such a conference.” Jordan is among the few countries that have declared that they do not currently export anti-personnel landmines and have no intention of doing so in the future. King Hussein said that “Jordan is taking measures to rid its border areas of landmines and we are seeking international help to speed up the process. We want to get rid of landmines once and for all and we also want to engage in a regional dialogue.”

New Ambassadors to Jordan present their credentials

His Majesty received the credentials of five new ambassadors serving in Amman. They include: the Tunisian ambassador, Mr. Hatem Ben Othman; the Japanese emissary, Mr. Kouichi Matsumoto; the Ukrainian ambassador, Mr. Evgeny Mikitenko; the Indian envoy, Mr. Her Charan Singh Dhody; and, the ambassador from the Philippines, Mr. Roteato Mdizo.

Sunday, May 10

Chief Jordanian Judge takes the oath

His Majesty today swore in Chief of the Higher Judicial Council and Court of Cassation Mr. Taher Hikmat in Basman Palace.

Wednesday, May 5

President Arafat telephones His Majesty

King Hussein received a telephone call from Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who briefed him on the outcome of the London talks. President Arafat expressed satisfaction with the US administration’s commitment to pursue efforts to achieve tangible progress, and confirmed his acceptance of the US initiative to attend a Washington meeting on May 11. His Majesty King Hussein expressed his continued support for the positive Palestinian position.

His Majesty inspects the Armed Forces headquarters

King Hussein also visited the Armed Forces headquarters, where he was received by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Field Marshal Abdul Hafez Mira’i Kaabneh, and other senior military officials.

Monday, May 4

His Majesty telephones the Saudi Monarch and Egyptian President

King Hussein today called Saudi King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz to check on his health. The two leaders also discussed the peace process impasse and voiced hope for the success of the London talks between the US and the Palestinian and Israeli leaders. His Majesty also telephoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to congratulate him on his birthday. King Hussein and President Mubarak discussed the latest developments in the peace process, particularly concerning the London negotiations.

His Majesty hails Crown Prince El Hassan

His Majesty sent a letter to his brother HRH Crown Prince El Hassan, praising his efforts in the service of the nation and pledging continued efforts to ensure further accomplishments for the Kingdom. King Hussein wrote:“You have always stood by me as a true Hashemite, Arab and Jordanian, equipped with knowledge and dedicated yourself to the attainment of Jordan’s aspirations turning Jordan into a model for others and an object of pride to all of us.” King Hussein said he took pride in Prince Hassan’s relentless efforts, which “will be remembered by your brothers and countrymen who deeply appreciate your sacrifice and your great endeavors for the nation.”

Sunday, May 3

Jordan celebrates 45 years since King Hussein assumed his constitutional powers

Addressing a ceremony commemorating the 45th anniversary of His Majesty’s assumption of his constitutional powers, King Hussein urged the opposition to resort to dialogue with the government rather than being always opposed to its policies. His Majesty also called for the reform of the judiciary: “I believe that there are shortcomings and defaults which need reform to enable the judiciary to reach the point which we all wish.” The King said that the opposition and the government should sit together to find out “what are the loopholes, the shortcomings and how we could overcome them.”