The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1995Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Speech in Jordan – 15 March 1995

Below is the transcript of Mr Major’s speech made on Wednesday 15th March 1995, at the presentation of Scholarships at the Hashemiyya Palace in Jordan.


Good morning. Can I firstly say how delighted I am to be here in Jordan and I am extremely grateful to His Majesty The King for his hospitality and for the warmth of our reception last evening, we were very touched by it and it is a great pleasure to be here.

We had the opportunity last evening of some very lengthy and some very productive talks with His Majesty that I much appreciated, and it gave me the opportunity to say in Jordan what I have had the opportunity if saying to His Majesty in the United Kingdom, and that is how much we admire the way in which he has seized the opportunity for peace in the Middle East, and the way in which he had reached an accommodation with Israel. And I think in doing to Jordan has made a commitment to a better and safer future for its people, and made a very substantial commitment to the safety and future of people far beyond Jordan, right across the Middle East.

I was very happy last evening to reaffirm to His Majesty, Britain’s support for Jordan and for the course that he has taken. The friendship of course between our two countries is very old, very close and a friendship that we very much value. It is forced by many things, by countless links of personal esteem and affection. We understand each other. When Britain talks to Jordan, it does not have to talk in code, it does not have to talk marking its words with caution, it can say freely exactly and precisely what it means because it is a discussion amongst friends, we understand each other and we trust each other. And perhaps in this year, this anniversary year of the end of the Second World War, it gives us great pride to record Jordan’s staunch friendship and assistance to Britain throughout that conflict.

Let me say that, for our part, we stand ready to help wherever we can with Jordan. I am delighted that we were able to play a role in re-scheduling debts and writing off some debts altogether, and we will continue to give consistent support in the efforts of Jordan to reduce its indebtedness and improve the future of its economy. We will also seek to maintain our programme of aid both bilaterally and through the European Union. And we do this for a number of reasons, not just because Jordan is an old and dear friend, but also because of what Jordan stands for – a country committed to democracy; a country that is meeting the challenges of development with very great skill and with very great courage; a country committed to tolerance and to moderation; and a country that understands as well as any country the importance of achieving real and lasting peace and stability in the region. And I am delighted to have had the opportunity of discussing these matters with His Majesty last evening, and I look forward to further discussions with the Prime Minister later on this morning.

Let me now, if I may, turn to the particular purpose and circumstances of this occasion. Every year Britain is delighted to have the opportunity of awarding some 60 scholarships to a number of Jordanian men and women, giving them an opportunity to study in Britain in a great variety of fields. For the first time this year we are delighted that three young musicians will be going with scholarships from the Purcell Anniversary Fund, recently set up by the British Embassy under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen. As we as the musicians we have a sample of three other successful candidates, and I think rather than introduce them myself, I will invite the Ambassador, Peter Hinchcliffe, to introduce the scholars to you all.

[Presentation made at this point]

I would like, if I may, to add my congratulations to everyone who has received an award and to say that I hope they enjoy their stay in the United Kingdom, I am sure they will and they will find a very warm and a very friendly reception when they get there.

Can I just say another word or two and make a further presentation. Britain’s aid programme has funded what has turned out to be a hugely successful Hydro-geological study in the south of Jordan. The Kardesi [phonetic] project has produced information on a major underground water resources, a very welcome resources indeed, and it is now a resource which can be developed. I am delighted to learn that it will be completed within a few months, and I congratulate the Water Authority and the British consultants, Scott, Wilson, Kirkpatrick, on their achievements in this.

Your Excellency, the Minister of Water and Irrigation, I am delighted to see you here this morning and it gives me very great pleasure to present to your government, through you, on this occasion the drilling equipment and the stores of the project to the value of some 3 million pounds. I would also like to hand over to your government two specialist vehicles which we can see parked immediately adjacent to us, one carries a pump testing unit and the other a geo-physical logger. I am not entirely certain what a geo-physical logger is but I am told that it is absolutely essential for this particular work and I hope it is able to play a satisfactory role. I very much hope that this small gift will play a part in the important work to develop Jordan’s water resources, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to being here to present it in person.