Response to the Foreign Minister of Jordan, H.E. Nasser Judeh

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Gary Robbins
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
March 15, 2012

The United States warmly welcomes His Excellency, Mr. Nasser Judeh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, to the Permanent Council here in Vienna. We appreciate Jordan’s active, constructive approach to the OSCE partnership, and we value the leadership it displays on key issues.

The United States appreciates the Jordanian initiative and the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah in hosting talks between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. We believe that the recent Jordanian-hosted dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, under Quartet auspices, produced serious and meaningful discussions between the parties. The time devoted to these exploratory talks was, however, too short, and we look forward to the continuation of further talks. We are in a period of assessment, discussing the way forward with the parties, with Jordan, and in the Quartet. We are in close contact with the parties and urge both sides to remain open-minded.

Regarding Syria, we thank Jordan for its constructive diplomatic position and humanitarian efforts to assist displaced Syrians fleeing violence. As we have repeatedly said, we believe that Security Council action on Syria is long overdue, and we are exploring what is desirable and viable at the Security Council at this time. By voting in favor of the February 16, 2012, UN General Assembly resolution, an overwhelming majority of UN member states backed the plan put forward by the Arab League to end the suffering of the Syrian people.

Respect for human rights is not simply a moral imperative, but an essential component of international security and stability.  This is especially important and timely not only with regard to Syria, but in light of the events of 2011, during which ordinary citizens — across the Middle East and beyond — demonstrated that dignity, freedom, and opportunity are the aspirations of all people.

Their power to change the course of history demonstrates, once again, how appropriate it is that the comprehensive security concept is at the heart of the OSCE:  that lasting peace and stability depend just as much on meeting our citizens’ legitimate aspirations as they do on military security.

We have consistently raised with Jordan and other governments in the region the need for reforms that respond to their peoples’ aspirations.  Jordan has taken some important steps toward answering these challenges. For example, Jordan enacted significant constitutional amendments which seek to promote the rule of law and electoral transparency.

For our part, we will continue our support for greater political openness and the democratic transitions unfolding in different ways across the Middle East and North Africa.  In conjunction, we will maintain our support for the economic openness and opportunities which are critical to the success of these transitions.

Many OSCE participating States, which have made the transition from authoritarianism to democracy, have expertise that is uniquely relevant to the work ahead for our Mediterranean Partners. The Vilnius Ministerial opened new channels of engagement between the OSCE and the Partners – channels which run in both directions. We are committed to using this opportunity to develop and support projects with the Mediterranean Partners in all three dimensions.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Foreign Minister Judeh for his appearance here today and to reiterate the U.S. commitment to work with the people and government of Jordan as they continue their collective efforts towards a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future. The United States will continue to stand with and to support the people of Jordan and those across the region as they work to achieve full attainment of their universal human rights and continue the courageous and essential work of democratic reform.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.