PM unveils post-war vision in an exclusive interview with ‘Al Ghad’

Al-Ghad, Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh
(Photo: Al-Ghad)
AMMAN — Prime Minister Unveils Jordan's Vision for the Day After the War on Gaza in Interview with "Al-Ghad"اضافة اعلان

In a candid dialogue with Al-Ghad, Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh outlined Jordan's perspective on the post-war scenario in Gaza. Khasawneh warned that an explosion is imminent unless the political trajectory is set in motion immediately.

In a recent interview with Al Ghad, Khasawneh shared Jordan's perspective on the aftermath of the Gaza war. The headline, "PM: Explosion looms unless the political path is immediately pursued," suggests a sense of urgency. Here is a breakdown of key points:

• Political path crucial: Khasawneh emphasizes the imperative need for an immediate initiation of the political path to avert a potential explosion.

• Red signals to occupation: The interview hints at strong Jordanian signals regarding the occupation around Jerusalem, emphasizing non-compromise.

• Humanitarian support for Gaza: Khasawneh affirms the continuation of normal life in Jordan, highlighting ongoing support for Gaza.

• Transportation solutions amid the Red Sea crisis: Addressing the Red Sea crisis, the government introduces four new transportation lines to Aqaba.

• Government's interaction with public satisfaction: Khasawneh expresses contentment with the government's interaction with the public, showing indifference towards stance campaigns.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Ghad, Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh articulates a vision for Gaza's post-war landscape, aligning with Jordan's principled stance on the Palestinian issue.

Stressing the need for a robust political foundation, Khasawneh advocated a serious and time-bound approach, aiming for a two-state solution within a clear timeframe, spanning three to five years. This strategic plan envisions the establishment of a viable state in the West Bank and Gaza, adhering to the June 4, 1967 borders.

Reflecting on the events of October 7 and the ongoing challenges, Khasawneh interpreted them as pivotal moments. He reaffirms the Palestinian cause's integral role in broader Arab-Israeli peace initiatives, encompassing bilateral agreements like the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty.

Expressing apprehension about developments in the West Bank and Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially with Ramadan approaching, Khasawneh asserted Jordan's unwavering commitment. He pledges to uphold legal and historical reverence for Al-Aqsa's religious rituals during Ramadan, issuing clear messages to Israel.

Attributing the success of cross-border operations to adept political and diplomatic maneuvering, Khasawneh anticipated aid through land routes, targeting 500 daily trucks. Dismissing skepticism about Jordan's role as provocative, he emphasizes the enduring consistency of transport arrangements, unaffected by events post-October 7.

In light of Jordan's profound exposure to the events in Gaza, the Prime Minister outlined a nuanced strategy. He stressed the imperative of restoring normalcy in Jordan while maintaining unwavering support for the people in Gaza. He emphasized, "Preserving Jordan's immunity is crucial for robustly defending Arab issues, particularly the Palestinian cause”, highlighting the non-factional nature of Jordanian support for Palestine.

Addressing domestic affairs, especially along the northeastern borders, Khasawneh acknowledged the heightened alert status of the army, engaged in daily significant confrontations with non-state entities. He commended the active involvement of his government and ministers in these endeavors.

Economically, Khasawneh characterized Jordan's relationship with crucial International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs as a ‘healthy necessity,’ not a luxury. He detailed government measures to mitigate the impact of Red Sea events on prices, shipping costs, and supply chains.

Importantly, Khasawneh reaffirmed Jordan's post-war stance, aligning closely with His Majesty King Abdullah's consistent messages. His Majesty has consistently cautioned against disengagement from the political path, advocating for a two-state solution with a sovereign Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967 borders, and its capital in East Jerusalem.

Jordan's post-war vision: A call for political stability
Khasawneh underscored Jordan's strategic outlook for the aftermath of the conflict. He emphasized the imperative role of a robust political trajectory in ensuring regional stability, urging its immediate establishment.

Additionally, Khasawneh pointedly addressed the ongoing aggression since October 7, stressing the critical need for a swift, well-defined approach leading to the realization of a two-state solution. He issued a stark warning about the potential escalation of challenges and dangers if a comprehensive political path is not pursued.

Delving into the intricacies of the last decade's political uncertainties and recurrent violence, especially in Gaza, Khasawneh highlighted the pressing need for an unwavering and non-negotiable political course. He insisted that the post-war period should be anchored in a well-defined political process with clear timelines, steering away from unilateral attempts to manage Gaza.
Emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive political framework, Khasawneh cautioned against a return to the chaotic cycle, noting the expanding regional implications and rising tensions.

Jordan's vision advocates for a political approach that addresses root issues, rejects unilateral and illegitimate measures, and charts a stable path toward a two-state solution. This vision aims to prevent the region from descending into further turmoil.

Khasawneh discusses the post-war vision for Gaza
The Prime Minister articulated Jordan's position following the Gaza war. He underscored the imperative for global awareness regarding the unjust aggression and ongoing atrocities against the people of Gaza, issuing a resounding call to action. He lamented Israel's continued impunity, enabling destructive actions that have killed approximately 30,000, injured over 65,000, and resulted in extensive destruction.

Khasawneh advocated a departure from the current strategy, emphasizing the need for a fundamentally different approach. The events in Gaza, especially on October 7, serve as a poignant reminder that the Palestinian cause is pivotal to broader Arab-Israeli peace efforts.

Khasawneh emphasized active initiatives to secure a ceasefire, facilitate prisoner exchanges, and ensure adequate humanitarian aid reaches all parts of Gaza. The focus is on humanitarian assistance crossing through land crossings to address the region's immediate needs effectively.

These endeavors align with overarching goals outlined in bilateral agreements, including the Jordan-Israel peace treaty, encompassing regional, economic, environmental, and security aspects. The Prime Minister also stressed that progress depends on averting setbacks and earnestly working towards a genuine two-state solution.

Jordan's urgent appeal for enhanced humanitarian assistance to Gaza

Khasawneh has fervently called for an escalation in humanitarian aid to Gaza. Presently, only around 170 trucks, under optimal conditions, reach Gaza daily, a significant decline from the previous influx of approximately 500 trucks. Stressing the critical need, the Prime Minister advocated for a minimum of 500 trucks daily, urging effective measures to cease ongoing hostilities.

Khasawneh also underscored the necessity for international cooperation, specifically engaging Qatar, Egypt, and the US, to establish a substantial agreement for the expansion and diversification of humanitarian aid, covering all areas of Gaza. This initiative includes the imperative reopening of northern crossings, not solely relying on southern routes. The Prime Minister highlighted the pivotal role of ground aid, surpassing the limited impact of past Jordanian-led air drops, notably mitigating hunger in Gaza.

The success of these operations, as revealed by the Prime Minister, is attributed to the strategic utilization of political and diplomatic tools, including leveraging existing peace treaties. His Majesty’s involvement underscores Jordan's commitment, despite the inherent risks of flying over conflict zones, even avoided by commercial flights.

The focus remains on the vital necessity for ground crossings, with optimism for achieving a temporary ceasefire as negotiations unfold between Paris and Cairo.

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa: Jordan's firm stand against Israeli threats
Addressing imminent threats to Al-Aqsa, the Prime Minister emphasized the nation's response to Israeli plansduring Ramadan.

Notably, historical tensions during past Ramadans, especially when coinciding with Jewish holidays, were underscored. He further condemned the extremists in Israel, aiming to challenge the exclusive legal jurisdiction of Islamic endowments over Al-Aqsa.

With the onset of Ramadan, a temporary truce is urgently needed. Amidst rising tensions, certain elements in Israel, including politicians, intend to incite disturbances during this sacred month. The current circumstances are exceptional, marked by destruction, ongoing aggression in Gaza, and escalating incidents in the West Bank.

Jordan has conveyed through diplomatic channels to Israel the imperative for Muslims to practice their religious rituals during Ramadan, emphasizing agreed-upon prayer arrangements. Success is contingent upon the Israeli occupation's respect, commitment, and responsiveness to these messages.

Jordan, unwavering in its stance, confronts the historical and legal realities surrounding Al-Aqsa and the sacred precinct in Jerusalem. Every measure will be taken to preserve this legal and historical reality, ensuring the respectful safeguarding of religious practices for as many Muslims as possible during the blessed month of Ramadan. The messages conveyed in this regard are unequivocal to Israel.

Ensuring the return to normalcy in Jordan aligns seamlessly with supporting GazaGiven the nation's profound exposure to the unfolding events in the region, Khasawneh advocated for a well-balanced strategy that not only prioritizes the restoration of ordinary life within Jordan but also maintains unwavering support for the people in theGaza Strip.

 Stressing the essential nature of this dual commitment, he affirmed, "I firmly believe that there is no inherent contradiction in pursuing normalcy in Jordan, a fundamental necessity for the nation. Preserving Jordan's stability is pivotal in our ability to effectively champion Arab causes, foremost among them being the Palestinian issue."

Additionally, the Prime Minister underscored the transcendence of his supportive stance, positioning it above any other regional or global position. He acknowledges the influential role of His Majesty in orchestrating significant shifts observed in certain Western countries. These transformations, propelled by His Majesty’s engagements with decision-making capitals in the West and Europe, have led to adjustments in previously inflexible positions that afforded considerable immunity and protection to Israel and its policies.

Khasawneh also shed light on various facets of ongoing support for the residents of the West Bank and Gaza. Initiatives encompass the establishment of a fully operational hospital in Nablus, another field hospital, alongside a longstanding facility in Tal Al-Hawa, and an additional field hospital in Arish. He underscored the persistent commitment to humanitarian aid through the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO), employing both ground and aerial operations.

The primary focus remains on opening crossings to the central and northern regions, with the overarching goal of establishing a land bridge for aid to address the urgent needs of the region.

"Our goods for our kin in Palestine"
In the realm of our shipments destined for our compatriots in Palestine, the Prime Minister forcefully dismissed persistent campaigns casting doubt on Jordan's actions. He characterized these campaigns as ‘provocative,’ at times suggesting that undue scrutiny lends them an undeserved level of credibility, legitimacy, and significance.

Addressing previously raised concerns regarding the alleged establishment of a land bridge with the occupying forces, he unequivocally asserted, "There is no land or sea bridge or any other; I am responsible for my statements. The logistics of transportation from Jordan to Jordan and through Jordan have remained consistent for decades and will remain unchanged after October 7.

These transportation arrangements within the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have endured for decades, unaffected by any alterations after October 7. If someone attempts to portray a truck at the Al-Omari border crossing and then the same truck as having traversed from the Sheikh Hussein Bridge to the opposite side or from the King Hussein Bridge to the West Bank, such depictions bear no relevance to arrangements related to land bridges or otherwise."

He added, "On a side note, a substantial portion of these commodities is destined for West Bank markets, another significant share caters to the consumption of Arab citizens within the 1948 territories, and a considerable amount is exported through the port of Haifa. Fundamentally, these are longstanding arrangements that have undergone no recent modifications. Nevertheless, certain media outlets present news without substantiating evidence, as if they have 'brought the wolf by its tail,' despite trucks passing from Al-Omari to the King Hussein Bridge through exchange mechanisms over the past two decades. This amounts to a cascade of forgeries."

Jordanian support for Palestine: A unified approachKhasawneh emphasized that the bedrock of Jordanian support for Palestine transcends factionalism.

He underscored that the alignment with our Palestinian brethren and their cause is rooted in geographic and demographic considerations. Key issues include Jordan's involvement in matters related to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hashemite guardianship, and the rights of refugees for return and compensation. With those in Palestine enjoying full citizenship rights in Jordan, this matter holds central and fundamental significance for the nation.

The Prime Minister clarified that factional perspectives do not drive his approach to the Palestinian matter and support for Palestine. He firmly disavowed alignment with factions and vows never to retreat from his position as the Chief Executive Officer to serve factional agendas.

In his current executive role entrusted by His Majesty and constitutionally accountable before the Parliament, he stressed his obligation to support the Palestinian cause within the framework of constitutional responsibility. Simultaneously, he remained committed to sustaining the well-being of life in Jordan.

The Prime Minister proudly noted that Jordan stands with unwavering support for Palestine, with no cause for shame. He highlighted the unique leadership of His Majesty, the sole global head of state who personally piloted military aircraft over a war zone, facing the risks of anti-aircraft missiles on two occasions to deliver humanitarian aid.

In response to challenges to this stance and airborne operations, he questioned the right of those engaging in deception and making false claims about navigation and wind directions to suggest that aid was directed to the sea. He dismissed such calculated rhetoric as undeserving of attention, asserting that attempts to draw Jordan into factional biases unrelated to steadfast support for the Palestinian cause will not succeed. Instead, such attempts may involve aspects related to internal factional conflicts that Jordan will not be drawn into in any form.

The imperative for promptly resuming assistance to UNRWA
Amidst the complex landscape of financial and political challenges confronting UNRWA, Khasawneh meticulously examined the country's strategic choices.

With three million beneficiaries in Jordan, the agency grapples with heightened challenges, intensifying its internal scrutiny in response to allegations involving 12 UNRWA employees on October 7.

Despite deliberate financial and programmatic crises imposed in the past, UNRWA's role remains irreplaceable, delivering indispensable services unmatched by other international organizations in Gaza and operational zones across the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

Underlining the necessity for a swift resumption of emergency funding post investigations, the Prime Minister underscored Jordan's initial commitment of JD3 million during the Gaza war. A plea for additional support resonates to bridge the financial shortfall. This clarion call emphasizes the indispensable nature of UNRWA's services, debunking the notion that the actions of a few employees should eclipse its crucial contributions. This resolute position, articulated during His Majesty’s diplomatic mission to the US, advocates for a temporary and circumscribed suspension, intending to reinstate funding for UNRWA's operations, particularly in Gaza and vital operational areas, notably within Jordan.

"We are currently on heightened alert along our northeastern borders.”

Responding to the escalating activities of armed groups engaged in drug and weapon smuggling across the northeastern borders of Jordan, Khassawneh declared that the military is on high alert and in a state of general mobilization. He emphasized the continuous efforts of the Jordanian Armed Forces- Arab Army (JAF) actively engaging in daily confrontations with non-state entities.

The Prime Minister also stressed that Jordan has maintained vigilance since the outset of the relentless Israeli aggression on Gaza, foreseeing the potential expansion of regional operations. This could encompass the Israeli-Lebanese border or involve armed groups in our northern and eastern neighboring regions.

Collaborating actively with neighboring governments, Jordan is dedicated to countering and mitigating these threats. Nevertheless, the JAF retains the inherent right to defend our borders, aligning with the principles of any self-respecting nation.

JAF diligently patrols the borders to counter various challenges, such as drug trafficking networks extending beyond mere criminal gangs and the escalating smuggling of weapons. These activities pose potential threats to Jordan, and the nation remains steadfast in addressing them through collaborative efforts with neighboring governments while retaining the right to respond effectively to such attempts.

Parliamentary elections within constitutional timelines
Concerning the upcoming parliamentary elections, Khassawneh reiterated their status as a constitutional obligation within a specific timeframe.

According to the Jordanian constitution, parliamentary elections are mandated to occur within the four months preceding the expiration of the current parliamentary term. The current term, which commenced on November 16, 2020, is slated to conclude on November 16, 2024. As per the constitutional provision, elections are expected to take place between 7-16 and 11-16.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the elections will adhere to the constitutional timelines. He underscored the significance of these elections as a crucial milestone, initiating the electoral process for a parliamentary list of 41 seats in the first phase scheduled for 2024, adhering to the constitutional timeframe.

Presently, no indicators are suggesting a deviation from these constitutional timelines. Specific details regarding the election date will be determined by royal decree, followed by the Independent Election Commission establishing the polling start date after 10 days from this decree.

The Prime Minister emphasized that these powers are constitutional, absolute, and exclusive to His Majesty. While discussing timelines, he clarified that once the royal decree for elections is issued, the Independent Election Commission will determine the details and days, specifying the election date and location 10 days from the royal order for elections.

Khasawneh expresses satisfaction
Khassawneh expressed contentment with the government's engagement with the public, describing it as constructive, transparent, and appropriate. He discerned a distinction between purposeful engagement to illuminate critical matters and futile involvement in campaigns lacking substantive outcomes. Focusing on the former, he dismissed attention to the latter, considering it a drain on time and effort with no tangible results.

In this context, Khassawneh expounded on the preferred mode of ministerial engagement with the public. He emphasized the need to discern whether such engagement serves personal relations or addresses the people's needs and services. Additionally, he shed light on challenges in various sectors, emphasizing government achievements in tackling issues like the decline in education and healthcare services.

 Notably, he pointed out the strain on the transportation network exacerbated by the Syrian refugee crisis, leading to the restructuring of over 800 schools. He underscored the vital role of healthcare services extended to both Syrian refugees and Jordanians, highlighting challenges encountered in public transport.

Discussing progress in the transportation sector, Khasawneh highlighted the success of two Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines in Amman, effectively addressing various issues. He underscored the ongoing initiative to introduce BRT service between Amman and Zarqa, a project initiated during the current government's tenure. While acknowledging previous administrations' contributions, he emphasized the active progress under the current government, managed by Vision Amman and the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), tackling current challenges in public transportation.

Addressing education, the Prime Minister acknowledged ongoing reforms led by the Minister of Education and Higher Education, focusing on vocational and academic aspects. He highlighted decisions by the Higher Education Council concerning the General Secondary Education Certificate (Tawjihi), aimed at providing students with diverse paths in both academic and vocational fields.
Stressing the importance of empowering students with practical skills, he aligned this effort with the demands of the national job market and regional and international employment opportunities.

Concerning the healthcare sector, Khassawneh shared a notable success story during the COVID-19 pandemic, praising the state's swift adaptation. He commended the rapid increase in hospital capacity within four to five weeks and the establishment of field hospitals at a cost not exceeding JD15 million. He further emphasized the qualitative leap in the health sector, citing specialized surgery centers and collaboration with prestigious institutions such as the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC).

In conclusion, Khassawneh acknowledged that while the achieved milestones may not fully align with their ambitions, substantial progress has been made over the past three to four years. Notably, he mentioned the transformation of a field hospital in Aqaba into a children's department, with similar efforts underway in hospitals in Ma'an, Amman, and Irbid.

Khassawneh applauds the national press
Khassawneh expressed gratitude for the crucial role played by the national press, singling out the “Al-Ghad” newspaper. He conveyed warm greetings to the journalistic and media community, emphasizing the authenticity and patriotism of Jordanian media.

Commending their dedication to aligning with the nation's trajectory and defending its principles, Khassawneh pledged ongoing efforts to uphold media freedom in a conducive environment. Furthermore, the Prime Minister affirmed respect for journalists' rights to express opinions, highlighting the invaluable role of constructive criticism.

Navigating economic challenges in the wake of Red Sea events
Addressing the unfolding events in the Red Sea and their economic impact, Khassawneh discussed challenges related to supply chains, shipping costs, and subsequent price hikes.

Recognizing the inflationary impact on goods passing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a vital trade route constituting 15 percent of global trade and 50 percent of Jordan's imports, Khassawneh outlined measures to alleviate these effects. Initiatives included establishing alternative transport routes and exempting customs fees for goods at pre-crisis rates, aiming to mitigate the inflationary impact on citizens.

Ensuring stability amidst Ramadan challenges
Regarding Ramadan, Khasawneh reassured citizens of efforts to maintain stable prices and ample supplies.

Acknowledging the challenging inflationary impact, he emphasized the need for practical solutions, steering away from expecting traders to incur losses. Khassawneh detailed measures such as directing secondary shipping routes through Jebel Ali, Damietta, and Jeddah to ensure a smooth flow of materials into the Kingdom. Additionally, he unveiled a waiver of inspection and customs fees, reflecting pre-crisis rates, to ease the financial burden on traders and consumers alike.

Government preparedness for emergencies and capital projects
Khassawneh affirmed the government's preparedness, highlighting budgetary allocations for emergencies and capital projects reaching an unprecedented JD1.7 billion. He expressed hope that these funds would be fully utilized for their designated purposes, avoiding redirection for unrelated expenses.

Acknowledging the fluid nature of the situation, especially following the recent incident involving a sunken UK vessel in the Red Sea, the Prime Minister assured the public that there are no impediments to the arrival of goods in the Kingdom.

Jordan's legislative challenges
In a recent development, Jordan faces legislative hurdles in implementing a new sustainability program, echoing the successful initiative launched during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister highlighted the disappearance of the legal foundation for such programs due to the royal decree suspending the Defense Law activated during the pandemic.

Khasawneh clarified that the interventions in the social security system during the pandemic were facilitated by the Defense Law, which typically provides legal coverage to modify the application of other legislations, which is a possibility no longer viable today.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the government's efforts to address the needs of affected sectors within the existing legislative framework, avoiding the activation of exceptional laws such as the Defense Law. Recently, a modification to a specific guarantee regulation allowed institutions in the private sector to defer and reschedule social security contributions.

"Our 'health' relationship with the International Monetary Fund"

Regarding Jordan's relationship with the IMF, Khasawneh stated that the government completed seven reviews with the IMF, culminating in the signing of a new program for the next four years. This agreement was reached before the conclusion of the current program initiated in 2021, set to end in March.

The Prime Minister emphasized that both the current and new IMF programs align closely with the priorities of the Jordanian economy. The current program focuses on enhancing public revenues and combating tax evasion, leading to a significant increase in general revenues without resorting to tax hikes in recent years.

Khasawneh commended the highly efficient management of the Central Bank of Jordan’s (CBJ) monetary sector, facilitating a swift transition to the new IMF program with a cost estimation of $1.3 billion.

Jordan's relationship with the IMF
Khasawneh stressed the importance of maintaining a positive and constructive relationship with the IMF, as it allows Jordan access to international markets. This engagement enabled Jordan to issue Eurobond subscriptions covering approximately 150 percent of the country's needs within hours, with interest rates of around 7.25 percent. The success contrasts with other regional countries struggling to enter the market due to the absence of recognized and successful IMF-backed programs.

The Prime Minister asserted that Jordan's healthy relationship with the IMF is now a fundamental requirement for international integration and cooperation with donor nations. Donors increasingly hesitate to provide significant grants unless a country demonstrates successful programs and receives recognition from the IMF for its financial performance.

Furthermore, Jordan's relationship with the IMF provides the country with the ability to access global markets, manage debt effectively, and benefit from favorable sovereign interest rates. This strategic alliance encourages donors to support structural reform programs, safeguarding the economy from potential shocks.

Jordan's economic fortitude and collaborative IMF initiatives
In the intricate landscape of global finance, Jordan accentuates the vital role played by its alliance with the IMF and major credit rating agencies. Khasawneh underscored the intricate linkages between a nation's credit ratings, the allure of investments, and the collaborative synergy with the IMF.

Khasawneh recognized the unwavering support extended by prominent credit rating agencies, including Standard & Poor's and Moody's, amidst persistent challenges, particularly during Israeli aggression. Despite regional adversities, these agencies upheld Jordan's credit rating, exemplifying the nation's economic resilience attributed to impactful IMF-backed initiatives.

Highlighting the indispensable nature of Jordan's collaboration with the IMF for economic transformation, the Prime Minister emphasizes programs negotiated and implemented over successive governments. These initiatives prioritize national interests, focusing on essential structural reforms. Although initially met with resistance due to direct costs, they secure enduring benefits, including the preservation of the middle class, safeguarding monetary stability, and fostering sustainable economic growth.

During crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the IMF partnership proves pivotal. Jordan's effective collaboration ensures timely financial assistance surpassing $3 billion, preserving economic resilience. Khasawneh underscores that without this IMF affiliation, accessing financial resources and forging international alliances for economic sustenance and sectoral reforms would be daunting.

The Prime Minister concluded by stressing that Jordan's association with the IMF significantly shapes global investment prospects. Institutional investors align strategies with nations engaged in extended credit facility programs with the IMF, highlighting the critical and autonomous nature of this relationship.

Jordan-Iraq Industrial City Project and economic reforms
In response to queries about the progress of the collaborative Jordan-Iraq Industrial City project, Khasawneh assured that the government has allocated the necessary land and is rapidly advancing its implementation.

Acknowledging immediate priorities and unforeseen challenges affecting major projects like the industrial city and the Iraq oil pipeline, Khasawneh underscored Jordan's unwavering commitment to realizing these endeavors promptly.

Emphasizing the significance of joint initiatives, he highlighted the potential for integrated systems in infrastructure and petrochemical industries on bilateral (Jordan-Iraq) and trilateral (Jordan-Iraq-Egypt) levels.

Elevating employment: A real advancement in job opportunities
Addressing unemployment, Khasawneh affirmed a genuine improvement in job opportunities. The decrease in the unemployment rate and the surge in new opportunities indicate the success of administrative, legislative, economic, and sectoral measures under the first executive program for economic reform. The government aims to create one million job opportunities annually within the ten-year vision.

In 2022, a record-breaking 89,000 jobs were created, surpassing the annual average of the past decade. The private sector led with 76 percent, followed by the public sector at 21 percent, and non-governmental organizations at three percent.

Khasawneh stressed the real progress in job creation, connecting the reduced unemployment rate of the past two years to the observed improvement in production and job opportunities.

Amplifying investment potential: Pursuing heightened allure
In response to inquiries regarding Jordan's current investment landscape and the imperative to attract the requisite funding for executing the initiatives outlined in the Economic Renewal Vision, Khasawneh disclosed that investments streaming into Jordan amounted to JD650 million per capita during the initial three quarters of 2023. In addition, 2023 witnessed a figure of JD880 million, predominantly composed of Arab investments.

Khasawneh articulated that the Economic Modernization Vision (EMV) aspires to realize an annual investment volume surpassing JD1 billion by the close of 2025.

Emphasizing the potential of investments benefiting from the Investment Environment Law enacted in 2023, he anticipated a substantial amount, estimated at around JD1 billion. This legislation has already benefited approximately 500 projects, encompassing 330 novel initiatives and 180 ongoing ventures.

Drawing attention to governmental initiatives, Khasawneh highlighted legislative measures and reforms designed to attract investments, including income tax exemptions ranging from 30 percent to 100 percent for investors venturing into high-density sectors or investing in less-developed provinces.

Underscoring the urgency of increased investments to meet the EMV targets, Khasawneh stressed the necessity of securing a total investment of 42 billion over a decade, expected to materialize from local, Arab, and foreign sources.

Regarding the government's financial contribution, Khasawneh noted that foreign investments outlined in the 2024 budget reached an unprecedented JD1.7 billion.

Khasawneh pointed out that recent laws about investments, such as the Investment Environment Law and the revised Private Sector Partnership Law, along with regulations covering competition, labor, and social security, lay the legal groundwork to support the vision's program and attract the necessary investments. These initiatives empower the private sector to produce essential goods through strategic investments and enhancements.

Empowering women
Delving into government strategies for empowering women across all sectors, Khasawneh underscored the fundamental goal of women's empowerment pursued by the government. He commended the efficiency and leadership of the seven female ministers in his cabinet, reaffirming the government's commitment to the genuine integration of women into the workforce to address unemployment challenges.

Khasawneh outlined legislative incentives aimed at boosting women's political participation, including electoral and political party laws. While recognizing the positive impact of women's quotas in politics, he stressed that women are fully capable of competing and attaining leadership roles based on genuine competence.

Highlighting the revamped regulatory framework for party and parliamentary elections, Khasawneh outlined measures incentivizing greater women's participation. Political party lists are now mandated to include women among the top five names and another woman among the second five names.

Emphasizing women's empowerment as a pivotal element for comprehensive reform in Jordan, Khasawneh reiterated the continuous efforts of the Women Empowerment Committee, led by Minister of Social Development, Wafaa Bani Mustafa, to ensure women's empowerment across all provinces.

In conclusion, Khasawneh affirmed the government's unwavering commitment to women's empowerment as a fundamental and indispensable pursuit, not a luxury. He emphasized that these efforts align with the broader goals of development and genuine political empowerment.

 Sports sector calls for revitalization
The Prime Minister addressed the imperative for a substantial overhaul in the sports sector, emphasizing the critical need for transformation, especially in how clubs are treated as non-profit entities, to propel further development in this domain.

He highlighted the fundamental requirement to explore a legislative framework capable of institutionalizing a culture of professionalism. Khasawneh added, "To institutionalize a culture of professionalism and raise the standards of both football and less popular sports, we must identify a legislative framework capable of overseeing this process, or consider the transition of clubs into corporate entities."

Expressing perplexity at the skepticism from some individuals questioning the public's jubilation over the national team's unprecedented achievement in the recent Asian Cup held in Qatar, the Prime Minister asserted that celebrating the success of the national team is a right afforded to the people.

In terms of leveraging this achievement and bolstering Jordanian football, the Prime Minister disclosed that the Football Association has undisclosed plans to nurture the sport and overcome financial impediments hindering players' progress.

"Ensuring that players can lead a dignified professional life requires either companies taking charge or clubs themselves transforming into corporate entities. Alternatively, we can explore partnerships with leading companies to sponsor the clubs, expanding them into corporate entities at various levels," he added.

Khasawneh underscored a pivotal point regarding the imperative to overhaul club laws, recognizing that these laws are outdated and need revisiting to enhance the functioning of clubs and elevate sports activities.

Concerning the prospect of constructing a new international stadium as an alternative to the Amman Stadium to accommodate the advancements in Jordanian football, the Prime Minister affirmed the government's willingness to consider this proposal as a viable investment opportunity.

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