Reforms forefront works of the economic forum in Jordan today
Regional-Jordan, Politics, 5/15/2004
The Jordanian King Abdullah II opens today works of the World Economic Forum, which will continue until Monday. The Jordanian king and the US secretary of state Colin Powell will be among the 1200 prominent figures, taking part in the forum which will be held amid tightened security measures.
The forum will concentrate on reforms in the Middle East, the Israeli- Palestinian conflict as well as issues pertaining to terrorism and enhancing democracy and promoting of the economy and fighting poverty. The forum will seek to boost a " clear and logical Arab policy." This will be made amid expectation that the scandal of abusing the Iraqi detainees will win special focus, especially among the participants.
For the second running day, some 850 representatives from 51 countries including 6 heads of states and 40 ministers and some 500 businessman are taking part in the works of the forum on the banks of the Dead Sea, to the South of Jordan.
The Jordanian minister of planning Basem Awadalleh said that the forum will concentrate this year on reforms on the Arab world in addition to the Arab- Israeli conflict and the situation in Iraq. He said that the forum will seek to " develop a clear and logic Arab strategy with the aim to dealing with issues pertinent to enhance democracy, boosting the economy and fighting poverty. Awadalleh stressed that the two issues of Iraq and Palestinian will get a big portion of discussions in the forum.
The US Department Of State said that Powell will visit Jordan on May 15 and 16 to take part in the forum and hold talks with the Palestinian prime minister Ahmad Qurei' and other Arab leaders.
The spokesman for the Ministry Richard Boucher said that "this will permit him to discuss with the Palestinians and with Arab leaders in developments in the region and Iraq, and peace in the Middle East especially reforms efforts." Awadalleh said that the forum which will be held under the title " confrontation real challenges: partnership for the change, peace and development " will host some 1200 figures representing officials and from the media and business world. He stressed that the forum will witness " higher representation from Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and Palestine in addition to Israel.
Awadalleh admitted that some of the invitees decided not to participate in the forum because of their " feeling of fears," stressing that those " are very few in numbers." Witnesses said that Jordanian forces tightened security measures in the capital and on the road to the Dead Sea. Soldiers equipped with arms in armored vehicles run inspections operations, while others were deployed on the airport road.
The transfer of the authority to the Iraqis by the fall of June 30 will be among the basic issues to be discussed by the participants in the forum including several Iraqis. Member in the Iraqi governing council in Iraq Adnan al-Bajaji said that " the International participation in this process is a vital operation for Iraq and Iraq is looking forward to the participation of its neighbor in this experience in the world economic forum in Jordan." The chairman of the " Chambers of commerce federation " in Syria Rateb al-Shallah said that Syria raised the level of its official representation for this year to the forum to the ministerial level with the aim to prove its presence and debate its own issues.
Syria, however, is taking part in a delegation composed of the minister of the economy Ghassan Rifaee and the advisor for the Syrian President Nibras al-Fadel as well as al-Shallah and other 8 businessmen. Al-Shallah said that Syria decided as from 2003 to take part so as to have a presence and to be able to debate its own issues. However, the Jordanian opposition parties, led by the Islamic action front party refused the convening of the forum in the Dead Sea and considered it a new attempt to " impose normalization with Israel " on the Arab states and in support of the occupation of Iraq and called for boycotting the meeting.
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