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U.S. Department of State
95/10/29 Press Conference: Amman Economic Conference
Office of the Spokesman


                            U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                            Office of the Spokesman 
 
                                (Amman, Jordan)
_____________________________________________________________________ 
For Immediate Release                               October 29, 1995


                                PRESS CONFERENCE 
                                       BY
                      SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER,
                         SECRETARY OF COMMERCE RON BROWN,
                             AND CROWN PRINCE HASSAN
                         AT THE AMMAN ECONOMIC CONFERENCE 
 
 
                               Summit Press Center 
                                   Amman, Jordan 
 
 
CROWN PRINCE HASSAN: With the participation of Secretary of State Warren 
Christopher and Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, I would like to say 
that the day from our perspective as hosts has gone extremely well.  I 
would like to commend the regional parties, as well as the international 
community, participating in both the plenary and the parallel thematic 
discussions on furthering the discussion of the role of the 
international community of supporting and underpinning the task of peace 
building on creative ideas which have been exchanged, not only in the 
thematics, but also between the business community with regard to 
creating the regional stock market and more important I would like to 
say that the relevance of our legislative process is not only to develop 
new structures and policies but also to develop the by-laws in the form 
of a user-friendly manual which will reassure the visitors to this 
country and I hope that the parallel exists in other countries in the 
region.  But it is not only a question of the legislation involved but 
it's a question of how reasonable that legislation is when we speak of 
promoting investment.   
 
Of course, the concepts of trade financing have received a boost today 
by the creation of several new regional institutions which I think 
reflect the unanimity of opinion of the summit.  The four institutions 
which were called for at the Casablanca summit include the Bank for 
Economic Cooperation and Development in the Middle East, which in itself 
is a singular achievement, the Middle East Mediterranean Travel and 
Tourism Association (MEMTTA), the Regional Business Council and the 
Economic Summit Executive Secretariat.  I would like to say that these 
institutions are not only initiatives but they are concepts which are 
alive and well and have in terms of substance a great deal of input from 
these ongoing discussions.  Of course, we are still in day one and I 
would expect by day three that either all of us will have collapsed with 
exhaustion or elation but whichever way it works out I think that 
certainly good things are being done in hard times. 
 
I had the pleasure earlier of announcing that the Multi-Lateral Steering 
Group has agreed to establish the Regional Economic Development Working 
Group, REDWG, Monitoring Committee Secretariat as a permanent 
institution and, of course this is a subject on which further reflection 
will be given in the reading of the draft or the final declaration of 
the summit, so I won't dwell on it too long.  All I'd like to say is 
that these institutions reflect the paradigm to foster sustained 
consultation among the parties of the region and to enhance regional 
cooperation for economic development and social progress. These 
institutional frameworks will facilitate the evolution of the Middle 
East as it prepares to enter the next millennium and to integrate itself 
into the global economy.  I'd like to acknowledge the key role played by 
the United States, particularly that of Secretary of State Christopher 
and Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, in the establishment of these 
institutions.  I would also like to say that Japan has played a central 
role in the establishment of the tourism association; the (EUEU) the 
European Union has played an important and vital role in the gavel-
holding responsibilities of the REDWG Secretariat and indeed in the 
commitment to putting greater substance into REDWG interaction.   
 
I would just like to make one statement here and, that is I just have 
come from a lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Harris Silajdzic.  It is 
a singular honor for this conference to have the opportunity at a very 
difficult moment for the negotiations in the Balkans, the peace 
negotiations that we hope will leave to reconstruction of that war-torn 
country and region to be able to host the Prime Minister of Bosnia 
Herzegovina.  We certainly were deeply interested with the thoughts and 
proposals for the reconstruction not only of Sarajevo, which as we know 
has been a subject of shared concern not least of all with the United 
States and it is my hope that the day will come where we can either host 
or participate in a conference dedicated to the reconstruction of Bosnia 
Herzegovina and in deed to that war-torn  region.  We know where they 
are coming from and we hope that Middle East peace can be peace for the 
world and peace for the Eastern Mediterranean. 
 
I thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen and I would turn the floor to the two 
distinguished gentlemen to my right and to my left.  They happen to be 
geographically to my right and to my left, I don't know about them 
ideologically but I would welcome their contribution and certainly would 
be happy to question any of their answers.   
 
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen. 

 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good Evening. First, on behalf of Secretary 
Brown and myself and our entire delegation,  I want to thank His Majesty 
King Hussein and Crown Prince Hassan for their superb efforts to ensure 
that this summit is a genuine success.  They have attracted an 
extraordinary level of participation by both governments and private 
countries; private companies not only from the Middle East but from 
around the world as a whole.  The Crown Prince told me over lunch today 
that they stopped taking reservations at about 1500 business people and 
that unfortunately many had to be turned away.   
 
As I sat on the stage today and looked at those who had come to Amman, I 
found myself thinking of what Prime Minister Rabin had said at the White 
House as he and Chairman Arafat signed the interim agreement.  He asked 
us to look around at those who were assembled there at the White House 
that day and consider what a remarkable scene it was.  Today, I marveled 
at those who had been assembled here in Amman.  This time it was the 
officials and the private sector representatives from around the region 
and from around world.  They came not to witness the signing of a peace 
agreement but rather they came to explore commercial opportunities.  
They came to talk projects and they came to do business.  This evening, 
I heard that same message directly from the representatives of 125 
American companies who were represented here. I want to pay tribute, as 
I did this morning, to the extraordinary cooperation from Secretary 
Brown and the Department of Commerce which I think was very instrumental 
and made possible the participation of so many American companies.  
Though we still have a long ways to go to build a comprehensive peace, 
we should remember that we've come a long ways.  The landscape of this 
region is changed in ways that few could have imagined only 4 or 5 years 
ago.  The changes set a pathway for the future and there is simply no 
turning back.   
 
Results of this summit and the specific projects that will emerge from 
the regional consultation, from the regional conversations and from the 
new institutions that have been created such as the Tourist Association 
or the Business Council -- these will connect the pathway to the future.  
These are vital to the future.  Let me just add this word, I'll be 
leaving here somewhat earlier than I anticipated in order to return to 
United States via Damascus in order to open the conference in Dayton, 
Ohio, on the problems of the former Yugoslavia.  I thought it was very 
significant that Prime Minister Silajdzic was here today. Many of us had 
the same thought that we hope that one day before too long there could 
be a somewhat comparable conference, modeled on this one perhaps to talk 
about the reconstruction of the former Yugoslavia.   That, would be a 
consummation devoutly to be wished. I hope it will happen and I think 
that Prime Minister Silajdzic's presence here today will cause us to 
redouble our efforts to achieve that results.  
 
Now, if I can introduce my cabinet colleague, Secretary of Commerce Ron 
Brown. 

 
SECRETARY BROWN:  Thank you very much, Secretary Christopher.  I am 
indeed honored to be here with Secretary Christopher.  I think our 
presence together demonstrates very clearly, a whole new working 
relationship.  I don't believe the relationship between the State 
Department and the Department of Commerce in the United States has ever 
been closer.  I think that is reflective of the new world in which we 
live.  We believe in commercial engagement.  We believe that in fact our 
commercial activities, the kinds of relationships that are formed, can 
be a foundation on which a long standing peace and stability can be 
built.   
 
I must say that His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness the Crown 
Prince and all the Jordanian people have much to be proud of.  This 
summit meeting even after its first day can be declared a rousing 
success.  We're accelerated by the reception that we have received here 
but more importantly by the hard and good work and results that have 
already been achieved.  There is no question that much progress has been 
made in assuring economic growth and economic opportunity throughout the 
region.  Sixteen hundred people at the opening ceremony this morning. 
One hundred and sixty business leaders from United States.  We were over 
solicited as a matter of fact.  There were many more who wanted to be a 
part of the delegation whom we could not accommodate.  Two hundred 
specific contacts and appointments made by our American Business Center.  
That is a joint enterprise by the State Department and the Commerce 
Department.  It has just been open since Saturday and already 200 
appointments made for American business leaders seeking to do business 
in this region.  We have published what we call an opportunities book 
where we have identified 100 specific opportunities for American 
companies to be involved in joint ventures or investment or in other 
matters of commerce or trade.  Some agreements that were announced today 
and seating in the front row, Chris Rooney of Sprint International, the 
President of Sprint International and his Jordanian joint venture 
partner, Habib Gawi, they are seated in the front.  They ought to stand 
and be recognized for the agreement they entered into today.   
 
Tomorrow, while Secretary Christopher is in Damascus,  I will be here in 
Amman breaking ground on a new Sheraton ITT hotel which is not only very 
much needed but very much wanted here in Amman.   
 
Just yesterday, early in the day, I was in Gaza making my third trip to 
Gaza within the last year and a half.  You have to be heartened by the 
tremendous amount of construction that is going on.  Providing housing 
for people and creating employment opportunities.  While there with 
Chairman Arafat, we witnessed a signing of an agreement between the 
Culligan company, another American company, and a Palestinian partner 
for bottled water that would be distributed not only in the West Bank 
and Gaza but would be available for export, as well.  Also later 
yesterday in Jerusalem,  we participated in another signing between an 
American company, Mid-Atlantic, and the Israeli Electric Corporation, 
which is a breakthrough.  The first private power generation in Israel 
using oil shale in order to produce energy,  using new technology for 
that purpose.  
 
I think what this demonstrates is the awareness of the incredible 
potential of this region.  A potential that has not been availed yet, 
but a potential that is there.  If anything needs to demonstrate the 
awareness of this potential, it is the presence of all who are 
participating in this Summit and the positive attitude they bring to it 
and their understanding of its importance in relationship to the peace 
process itself.  These opportunities are here because peace is coming; 
because so many of the barriers and hurdles have been overcome.  There 
is still more to be done.  That is obvious.  Thanks to Secretary 
Christopher's hard work and his partners in the region, we're more and 
more confident that it will be done. But, in fact, the landscape is 
being set, the climate is being created to attract investment  for 
infrastructure projects in order to build the economy and create 
economic opportunity and jobs for the people.  That really is what this 
Summit is all about.  That is how it should be measured.  
 
Casablanca was important because it was historic.  Because for the first 
time countries of the Middle East and North Africa got together to talk 
about matters economic, to talk about regional economic development.  
One of the proudest moments today I believe was the signing of the 
regional business council agreement, bringing together private sector 
leaders.  Understanding that we in government can help create vehicles,  
but it really is the private sector that is going to determine the 
economic future of this region.  There is no question that the Summit is 
off to a good start  thanks to the leadership of His Majesty the King 
and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.  Secretary Christopher and I 
and the Crown Prince will be pleased to respond to any questions you 
might have.  Thank you.  
 

MR. DAVIES: We only have time for very few questions because others need 
the hall.  If you want to ask a question, please come up to a microphone 
first. 
 
QUESTION:  Your Highness Crown Prince, I have two questions here one for 
the Crown Prince... 
 
MR. DAVIES:  I'm sorry, this gentleman right here. 
 
QUESTION:  John Roberts with Middle East Times.  I wonder if I could ask 
the Commerce Secretary, how many of those one hundred projects that you 
mentioned are actually going to be small scale projects that will 
provide considerable employment, given that the biggest single problem 
confronting the Palestinian economy after the whole question of peace 
is, in fact, going to be the creation of jobs for a large and rapidly 
growing population and whether or not the U.S. is planning to increase 
its funding for NGO's given that they are the driving force of job 
creation at the moment, rather than private investors? 
 
SECRETARY BROWN:  Let me say that many of the projects are small 
projects.  Let me use our business delegation as a vehicle for 
describing the breakdown.  I indicated that there are 160 business 
leaders from the United States.  Of those, about 30 are Fortune 500 
companies.  That means that all the rest are smaller companies that will 
be involving themselves in smaller scale projects which can provide 
rapid employment opportunities.  We believe that there has to be a real 
balance.  All of the projects are not mega-projects.  All of the 
projects are not suitable for a giant company.  We believe that some of 
the joint venture opportunities because of consideration of scale are 
better served by small American companies working with Jordanian or 
Egyptian or Israeli or Palestinian companies.  Funding will continue to 
be an issue.  You know that the United States made a commitment of 500 
million dollars over a five- year period.  We are fulfilling that 
commitment.  We are urging other donor countries that have made 
commitments to fulfill their commitments.  As I indicated, when you go 
to Gaza and the West Bank, you can see with your own eyes the results of 
some of that capital inflow.  There is real activity going on.  There is 
real business activity going on.  I can't speak to the possibilities for 
increasing funding of NGO's.  A simple reading of daily newspapers in 
the United States would tell you that we are going through a major 
budget debate about budget priorities, about how resources will be 
allocated.  Obviously, it is Secretary Christopher's and my view that 
the resources that have been allocated to the State Department and to 
the Commerce Department in the Congressional budgets are inadequate and 
that's why the President has indicated that he is going to veto the 
appropriations legislation that affects both the State Department and 
the Commerce Department. 
 
QUESTION:  Your Royal Highness, I have a question for you and another 
question for the Secretary of State.  My question is this:  The Summit 
which we have now where are we going to be after ten years from now?  
Are you going to extend invitations to the neighboring states who are 
not participating at this moment?  My second question to Secretary of 
State:  as an Arab American journalist, I just came from Baghdad and 
with other colleagues from here, where we witnessed the sanctions that 
we have imposed upon Iraq.  It is hurting nobody but the innocent 
children, I personally have seen with my colleague.  The innocent people 
who can not speak out or are being killed, hurt by these sanctions.  Is 
there any possibility that we can ease these things on these innocent 
people? 
 
CROWN PRINCE HASSAN:  If I may answer, ten years from now our vision 
would be a Middle East which is not at war, not sanctioned, a Middle 
East where liberalization of trade will have initiated not only a 
healthy regional revival -- I am talking ten years from now -- but also 
an inter-regional cooperation.  I had the opportunity of discussing with 
the Secretary of State a minute ago the concept of working closely 
together with the NAFTA region (the North American Free Trade 
Association).  I would like to say that in terms of the countries not 
directly involved today in this particular Summit, if you are referring 
to comprehensive peace, I think every speaker has emphasized the 
importance of Syrian and Lebanese participation.  I would like to say 
that in terms of points of intersect that Syria and Lebanon attend other 
conferences such as possibly the Barcelona Meeting, the EuroMed Meetings 
which have most recently been held, including in Malta the EuroMed 
Conference there, the (inaudible) Conference and many other points of 
interest.  So, in a sense we are working in parallel, but I think that 
certainly we are looking toward a new region.  May I hand it over to the 
Secretary of State. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The responsibility for the suffering of the 
Iraqi people is that of the Government of Iraq.  The United Nation's 
resolutions have provided an opportunity to sell oil, and to use the 
funds for humanitarian purposes.  The Iraqi government refused to 
implement that resolution.  The United Nations eased that resolution so 
that it could make it more possible for the Iraqi Government to sell oil 
and use the funds for humanitarian purposes.  Again, it was turned down.  
Fundamental sanctions should not and will not be lapsed at the present 
time. The recent conduct of the Iraqi government, what they've done in 
respect to biological/ chemical weapons, I think, is reminder to the 
whole world that we have been taken in to some extent by the lies of the 
Iraqis or at least some have been by the lies of the Iraqi government.  
Surely, there is a case for not softening the sanctions that they have 
applied to the government but to ease them.  But, I want to remind you 
again that there is an avenue open deliberately by the United Nations 
resolution for the Iraqi Government to sell oil so long as it is used 
for humanitarian purposes. 
 
CROWN PRINCE HASSAN:  It would be remiss of me not to add that our 
concern in Jordan for the plight of the Iraqi people is a matter on 
record that we have restated on many different occasions. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, if I may. (Interrupted). I asked personal.. 
(interrupted). 
 
MR. DAVIES:  No, I am sorry that's enough, sir.  We really only have 
time for a couple of questions.  I am very sorry but we have to move on.  
Thank you very much.  And, if you would identify yourself first please. 
 
QUESTION:  My question goes to Mr. Christopher.  Mr. Christopher, we 
just had the press conference of the German Minister of Economics.  He 
talked about the establishment of the regional development bank.  He 
said Germany is not interested in joining the bank immediately.  But, it 
really is not interested in the fact that this bank should get all the 
support it should.  You feel this will reflect on the role of Germany or 
Europe in general in the peace process?  Thank you. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The bank clearly will be established.  Most of 
the provisions have been worked out.  The remainder will be worked out 
by the end of the year.  There has been a strong expression of interest 
in the bank.  All the regional countries  are interested.  Several 
European countries have expressed a positive interest.  Some European 
countries are still considering the matter.  Several of the Gulf 
countries have expressed an interest.  Others are keeping the decision 
open so I think the bank will be a reality.  A number of countries will 
participate from Europe, from the Gulf and from around the world.  Japan 
has  been one of the strongest components as has Canada.  Over time I 
look for the bank to be a considerable success.  I think the fact that 
some in Europe are considering the matter and are not yet ready to 
commit is not surprising and will not detract from the effectiveness of 
the bank. 

MR. DAVIES:  We have time for just one perhaps two more questions. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Christopher, President Arafat says today in his speech 
that the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip have been under siege 
more than two hundred and forty days.  How can the United States have 
the balance in its politics to push the economy in the occupied 
territories which it has destroyed over twenty-eight years ago?  Thank 
you. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The United States has taken a strong role in 
trying to assist the Palestinians and to ensure that the benefits of 
peace are available in that area.  The United States has committed 500 
million dollars over a five-year period.  And more than that, we have 
organized the first donors conference which pledged more than two 
billion dollars for Palestinian aid.  We have organized another Steering 
Committee of those countries interested in providing aid to the 
Palestinians.  So, we are very conscious of the needs of that area.  I 
think that we look at some improvement in Gaza Strip -- occasioned some 
by aid and some by the development of business in the area.  We will be 
trying to assist in the development of the West Bank.  The key to the 
future here is to carry forward the peace agreement.  To have the 
elections which are now scheduled for January of this year, and to bring 
about a condition of normality that will enable the citizens of that 
area to achieve the benefits that come from peace.  Peace brings 
prosperity as the signs here say.  We in the United States are 
determined to do all we can to make it happen. 
 
MR. DAVIES:  This will be the last question. 
 
QUESTION:  Secretary Christopher, John Cooley of ABC News.  Was there 
some development in the seemingly stalled Israel-Syria peace process 
which made you make the decision to stop in Damascus after we had heard 
that this stop would not take place? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:   No, it was simply my determination to do all I 
can to try to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region.  The 
President and I met with Prime Minister Rabin two days ago when he was 
in Washington.  I felt that while I was within an hour of Damascus, I 
should not be in the region without stopping and talking with President 
Assad. So, I do not want to foreshadow any major breakthroughs.  I think 
the parties are still serious about peace.  As one of the co-sponsors of 
the Madrid process, I am going to go there to see if we can't find some 
way to break out of the stalemate and resume the peace process because 
the United States has long felt, President Clinton feels, a 
comprehensive peace is very important for this region.  Thank you very 
much. 
 
MR. DAVIES:  Just one more question over here.  Jordan Times. 
 
QUESTION:  Secretary Christopher, the Egyptian Foreign Minister seems to 
have indicated today that Jordan and some other countries in the region 
are going too fast with their implementation of peace with Israel.  Do 
you agree with this characterization, and have you decided where the 
next Summit is going to be held? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: You know we all (interruption). 
 
CROWN PRINCE HASSAN:  Why didn't you (the journalist) ask the Jordanian 
to answer? 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I will be glad to have you answer, Your 
Highness. I sat in the amphitheater this morning, and I heard a number 
of speeches.  I heard some things that I didn't agree with.  But the 
real reality of this conference is that conversations are taking place, 
deals are being done, projects are being considered, and interestingly 
the four countries of the region -- Egypt included in the four countries 
involved, Egypt included, are putting forth joint projects.  I think 
that is the underlining reality.  This is an economic conference, and 
there is a good deal of forward thrust from an economic standpoint.  
Egypt has been a strong proponent of the Middle East Development Bank.  
Egypt will be the home or host of the Middle East Development Bank, 
which I think is probably the best answer that I can give to the 
comments with respect to the process and how it should go forward at 
least from an economic standpoint.  Your Highness. 
 
CROWN PRINCE HASSAN:  I would just like to say the reference today to 
peace being good for business and business being good for peace is not 
in today's world slipping the cart before the horse.  It is rather the 
attempt effectively to remind the world that this region is lagging 
behind.  The whole of the North Africa/Middle East Region north of the 
equator has a GDP equivalent to a European country.  I think the issue 
here is very much an economic issue.  Can we catch up while we engage as 
Secretary Christopher is doing on all our behalf in attempting to 
capitalize the last phase of the comprehensive peace?  
 
As far as the speed in which we are implementing, I would just like to 
say the last time I was interviewed by an American TV chain, I was asked 
what about the position of the professional unions in Jordan?  As it 
happened, the interview took place in the contractor's union.  And, the 
comment of my interviewer was well that doesn't count, they are friends.  
So, I sometimes get to the point of asking, particularly following 
journalist guests who are so keen on finding differences over the peace 
issue and we welcome difference of opinion.  I sometimes get to the 
point of asking are you for peace or aren't you?  So, I thank you any 
way for your valuable questions. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Thank you very much. 
 
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