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U.S. Department of State
95/10/29 Address: Transforming Middle East: Public/Private Partnership
Office of the Spokesman



                             U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                              Office of the Spokesman 
 
                                   (Amman, Jordan) 
_______________________________________________________________________ 
Text As Prepared For Delivery                          October 29, 1995 
 
 
 
 
                         THE  AMMAN ECONOMIC SUMMIT: 
                        TRANSFORMING THE MIDDLE EAST 
                    THROUGH A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP 
 
                                ADDRESS BY  
                  SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
 
 
                            Sports City Complex 
                               Amman, Jordan 
 
 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:  On behalf of President Clinton and 
the United States, I  want to express my deep gratitude to King Hussein, 
Crown Prince Hassan and the people of Jordan for hosting this Economic 
Summit. 
 
Your Majesty, for four decades, you have been a force for peace in a 
region that has known so much war.  You have infused your kingdom with a 
spirit of civility and tolerance.  And working together with Prime 
Minister Rabin, Chairman Arafat, President Mubarak, King Hassan, and 
others, your vision and courage is transforming the Middle East. 
 
Four short years ago, the Madrid Conference launched a process that has 
demonstrated that negotiations can succeed.  Enemies can become 
partners.  And across lands whose ancient religions have long inspired 
humanity, peace can prevail. 
 
One month ago in Washington, we witnessed another historic agreement 
between the Prime Minister of Israel and the Chairman of the PLO.  
Building on the 1993 Declaration of Principles, the deal they signed 
marks a great step forward toward the shining goal of Israeli-
Palestinian reconciliation. 
 
And just one year ago, in the desert south of Amman, the world watched 
as you, Your Majesty, and Prime Minister Rabin built a bridge of peace 
between your two peoples.  Last week, Israel and Jordan signed 
agreements on agriculture, economic cooperation, and development in the 
Gulf of Aqaba-- agreements that will bring the concrete benefits of 
peace. 
 
If these accomplishments are to be truly secure, peace must be 
comprehensive.  It must be extended to include both Syria and Lebanon.  
Today, I want to reaffirm, on behalf of President Clinton, that the 
United States will continue to work with the parties to help them 
achieve a breakthrough for peace. 
 
We also know that peace must reach beyond diplomats and documents.  
Agreements between governments are the basis of peace.  But the reality 
of peace is found in deeds, not words.  Peace is the construction boom 
in Gaza, a four-fold increase in foreign investment in Israel, the 
desalination center planned in Oman, and the tour package jointly 
promoted by El Al and Royal Jordanian Airlines. 
 
For too long, this has been a region of warriors and widows.  Let it 
again become a region of builders and traders.  Let its future be shaped 
by the imagination and ingenuity of its entrepreneurs, the knowledge and 
curiosity of its children, and the wisdom and memory of its peoples. 
 
This vision of a prosperous peace first brought us together a year ago 
in Casablanca.  Here in Amman, we will fulfill the pledges we made in 
Casablanca.  We will launch a series of regional institutions that share 
an overarching purpose-- to improve the ability of the private sector to 
do business in the Middle East, and to promote the region's economic 
development and integration. 
 
First, we will create the Bank for Economic Cooperation and Development.  
The Bank's establishment is a major milestone-- not least because it is 
the first such initiative put forward by the parties to the peace 
process themselves.  Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinians, and Israel all 
agreed on the need for a bank that would support the region's most 
worthy private sector projects, promote essential infrastructure 
development, and encourage privatization and wide-ranging economic 
reform. 
 
The United States is committed to ensuring that the Bank meets these 
critical needs, and that it is governed by strict rules of 
accountability.  The Bank must complement, not duplicate, the efforts of 
other institutions such as the World Bank.  The Bank must learn from the 
experience of similar regional institutions.  We will work with our 
partners in the region and the international community to make sure that 
the Bank succeeds. 
 
Second, this Summit will establish the Middle East-Mediterranean Travel 
and Tourism Association.  Open to governments and private firms 
everywhere, the Association will harness the world's largest industry-- 
and one of its best sources of hard currency earnings -- as a catalyst 
of regional economic growth.  It will encourage cooperation within the 
region, and support its integration into global tourism networks. 
 
In these lands of miracles and monuments are the red temples of Petra, 
the golden colonnades of Palmyra, the Roman ruins of Caesarea, the vast 
amphitheater of Carthage, the giant thrones of Abu Simbel.  Peace should 
throw the wonders of the Middle East open to the world.  Already 
Jordan's tourism revenues have doubled in the year since it made peace 
with Israel.  Other nations can do the same. 
 
Third, we will launch the Regional Business Council with leaders from 
private business and government.  The Council will be a permanent forum 
for exchanging information, developing investment opportunities, and 
encouraging a world-class business environment.  I want to acknowledge 
the role of my Cabinet colleague, Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, in 
establishing this voice for business in the region. 
 
Here in Amman, we must also go beyond our work at Casablanca.  We must 
reinforce our public-private sector partnership for peace and foster 
patterns of commercial cooperation across the Middle East.  Governments 
have a responsibility to lay the foundations for peace and prosperity.  
But the private sector has the opportunity to build the structure of a 
lasting peace reinforced by rising prosperity. 
 
This public-private partnership is based on three mutually reinforcing 
pillars: first, the private sector; second, countries outside the region 
that have been at the forefront of efforts to support the peace process; 
and third, governments in the region.  Let me briefly describe the 
unique challenges that each must meet. 
 
The private sector must recognize and seize the business opportunities 
that peace is creating.  The fact that hundreds of businesspeople have 
come to Amman is evidence that they are doing just that. 
 
I am proud to say that among them are more than 125 American companies, 
many of whom are leading the way.  Lockheed-Martin will conduct a 
feasibility study for a regional airport that will link Aqaba in Jordan 
and Eilat in Israel.  The communications firms Sprint and AT&T will 
announce joint ventures with Jordanian partners to hook Jordan up with 
the information superhighway.  Culligan Water Technologies will sign an 
agreement to manufacture bottled water in Jericho.  And General Electric 
is close to finalizing a large contract to supply Egypt with 
locomotives. 
 
Ladies and gentlemen:  Last year we announced that the Middle East was 
open for business.  This year we declare that the Middle East is doing 
business. 
 
As the peace process pushes on, agreement by agreement, the risks for 
business diminish, day by day.  Business can profit while making a 
decisive contribution at a moment of rare historic opportunity. 
 
At the same time, governments from outside the Middle East must do their 
part to accelerate the momentum of private sector involvement.  The 
United States will continue to work with its friends around the world to 
promote the region's prosperity.  We look especially to the European 
Union and Japan to continue their significant contributions to this 
effort.  
 
For our part, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Overseas Private 
Investment Corporation, the Exim Bank, and the Trade and Development 
Administration are working hard to ensure that American companies can 
take full advantage of regional trade and investment opportunities.  
These agencies are funding feasibility studies, providing investment 
guarantees, and offering risk insurance.  OPIC, for example, is 
capitalizing a $250 million regional fund for the Middle East and North 
Africa. 
 
The United States has also launched a number of important bilateral 
initiatives with key regional parties.  With the Palestinians, we have 
helped to mobilize the international donor effort, and pledged $500 
million in American assistance.  Our Trade Representative Mickey Kantor 
has just finalized an agreement with the Palestinian Authority to allow 
exports from the West Bank and Gaza duty-free access to the American 
market.  With Jordan, we are considering a bilateral investment treaty, 
and we have forgiven more than $700 million of Jordanian debt to the 
United States.  And with Egypt, we have launched a pathbreaking joint 
partnership for economic growth and development under the leadership of 
President Mubarak and Vice President Gore. 
 
Of course, it is the governments in the region that bear the greatest 
responsibility for making the Middle East a world-class business 
environment.  In the past, there has been far too much government 
regulation and inefficient public investment.  Local private capital has 
fled the region and foreign capital has found greater incentives 
elsewhere. 
 
To their credit, many  governments in the region are now taking bold 
steps to put their economic house in order.  Tunisia and Morocco, for 
example, have embraced real economic reform.  In the last decade, 
privatization, deregulation, budget discipline, and currency reform, 
among other steps, have produced impressive leaps in economic growth in 
both countries.  Not surprisingly, the private sector has responded.  
Between 1989 and 1994, direct foreign investment in Morocco more than 
tripled. 
 
Jordan is another nation taking important steps toward reform.  Its new 
investment code will give foreign firms the legal protections they need 
to take advantage of Jordan's many opportunities. 
 
But more must be done across the region.  Governments need to remove 
restrictions on trade and investment.  They must reform capital markets, 
modernize tax systems, and stamp out corruption.  They need to ensure 
fair business practices through legal systems and commercial dispute 
mechanisms that are transparent and fair.  And they must continue to 
deregulate and get bureaucracies out of the way of business. 
 
I also call on the region's governments to remove the most harmful 
political barrier to greater economic openness.  The boycott  against 
Israel maintains walls at a time when negotiations are bringing them 
down.  It impedes regional economic integration.  The boycott serves no 
one.  While the boycott is being dismantled and many of the countries 
here no longer observe it, the moment is right to end the boycott 
completely. 
 
All these steps are essential if the region is to attract the skills and 
capital of international business.  Now is the time for the Middle East 
to prepare to compete in the global economy.  Now is the time for the 
Middle East to reinvent itself for the twenty-first century.  
 
The Middle East is on the verge of reconnecting its rich past to the 
boundless possibilities of the future.  For centuries, this region 
witnessed the constant movement of people, ideas, and goods across its 
borders.  Linen, glassware, olive oil, incense, pungent spices and 
precious metals were traded across the deserts and over the seas.  The 
world passed through the Middle East, and the Middle East passed through 
the world. 
 
Today we see this legacy in the Arabic numerals the world uses to count 
and in the coffee, first ground from arabica beans, that the world loves 
to drink.  And we see this legacy in the words we use--  for damask 
cloth from Damascus and gauze from Gaza. 
 
As we approach a new millennium, we can revive the trading routes of 
centuries past, and create new ones for today.  Caravans of culture and 
commerce can travel by air, by fax, by microchip, and along the 
information superhighway. 
 
The Middle East also has old words to return to the world-- and most of 
all to itself.  Let Salaam and Shalom become the watchwords of a 
prosperous new Middle East at peace. 
 
A year ago in Casablanca, I borrowed a line from Humphrey Bogart when I 
suggested  that the first Summit could be the beginning of a beautiful 
friendship.  Allow me now to borrow once again from the spirit of that 
famous movie.  Today, in Amman, it is time to play it again, Sam. 
 
Thank you very much. 
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