By Jordan Times – Jun 14,2015 –
His Majesty King Abdullah speaks to Northern Badia residents during a visit to the region on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)
AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday expressed his pride in the unity of Jordanians and assured them that addressing economic challenges is at the top of his priorities.
During a meeting with community and tribal leaders in the Northern Badia, the King described the unity of Jordanians and their solidarity as one family as “the source of our strength, honour and pride”, according to a Royal Court statement.
“You are my family; you are close to my heart, and you are a genuine part of the Jordanian family; and I am proud of being among you,” His Majesty told Northern Badia residents, highlighting his commitment to maintaining contacts with them and listening to their views on various issues.
“I know there are many challenges in terms of the economic situation, and I assure you that the conditions will be better in the future,” the King said.
“You are close to the border and you feel the problems of the refugees and what is happening in Syria and Iraq more than other areas in the Kingdom.
“What concerns us is dealing with the challenge of poverty and unemployment, especially in the northern and the eastern regions of the Kingdom, which received the largest number of refugees since the beginning of the Syrian crisis.”
Jordan realises the magnitude of the challenges it is facing at the political, security and military levels as a result of the developments in Syria and Iraq, His Majesty said, but the country is comfortable enough to have economic challenges as its top priority.
“We are talking to the government on how to improve the economic conditions of citizens, and there is a 10-year [economic] programme and upcoming investments, and this is part of the strategy that we are thinking of for our country,” the King said.
“We will work so that the share of the northern areas [in investment projects listed in the economic blueprint] is larger to enable them to face the problem of refugees and its social and economic repercussions on host communities, especially the Northern Badia.”
His Majesty stressed the importance of utilising all available resources and capabilities to implement various projects, in a manner that achieves the best possible life for Jordanians around the Kingdom.
Highlighting regional conditions, he said it is “our duty as a state” to support the tribes in the east of Syria and the western areas of Iraq, highlighting Jordan’s world-recognised role in this regard and in ensuring regional security and stability.
His Majesty also expressed his confidence in the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and security forces as protectors of the Kingdom’s borders.
“I have full confidence in them,” he said.
While listening to remarks made by various speakers during the visit, the King said all the concerned parties should follow up on the badia residents’ demands and bring about actual solutions, in accordance with the available capabilities, to improve the level of services and the living conditions of the people of the Northern Badia.
Welcoming the King’s visit, various speakers expressed their pride and support for the Hashemite leadership in safeguarding the country’s accomplishments and higher interests.
Community representatives called for establishing development and industrial projects, vocational training centres, clubs for young people, new schools and kindergartens.
They also called for dealing with municipalities’ problems, solving water and electricity issues in some areas of the region and resolving the problem of the desert highway that connects the Kingdom with Iraq.
Speakers included MP Saad Hayel Srour, Senator Nayef Qadi and MP Habes Shabeeb, who highlighted development issues in the Northern Badia.
Sheikh Salameh Khoshman, who was among the speakers, focused on problems facing farmers, mainly water shortages.
The King’s visit to the Northern Badia is part of a series of meetings with the Jordanian people to maintain contact with them and to learn firsthand about their needs, the statement said.