Jordan’s new Cabinet urged to focus on national priorities

Jordan’s new Cabinet urged  to focus on national priorities
Jordan's newly-appointed Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh takes oath during a swearing-in ceremony of the new government in Amman, Jordan October 12, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 13 October 2020

Jordan’s new Cabinet urged to focus on national priorities

Jordan’s new Cabinet urged  to focus on national priorities
  • New administration needs to make specific, time-sensitive commitments, says analyst

AMMAN: The finance, interior and international planning ministers were among those who left. Health Minister Saad Jaber and Minister of Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh also left, with many viewing their departure as an indication that their performance was no longer acceptable.

Amer Bani Amer is director of the NGO Rased-Hayyat Center, which monitors the government and parliament.
He said that the new administration needed to make specific, time-sensitive and measurable commitments and determine who would follow through on them.
“The new government needs to follow up what was not fulfilled by the previous government and build on it based on national priorities,” he told Arab News.
“It is necessary to build trust with people and not to widen its promises so as not to leave the public disappointed if these promises are not kept.”
Amro Nawisa, who is program director at the center, said that the average age of the ministers was 59.
He also said that the new government included eight ministers from the outgoing government of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz.
“Three women ministers represent 9 percent of the total Cabinet,” he told Arab News.
“Four ministers are current members of the Senate and 47 percent of the new ministers have a doctorate.”
Salma Nims, who is secretary-general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, said that the new government fell short of expectations.
“It is not only that the number of women is less, but some of the ministers who were known to attack women are now being promoted to the Cabinet level,” she told Arab News.

It is necessary to build trust with people and not to widen its promises so as not to leave the public disappointed if these promises are not kept.

Amer Bani Amer, Director of NGO Rased-Hayyat Center

“We are not calling for the appointment of women and men who fight for the rights of women.”
Former MP Mohammed Kharabsheh is the newly appointed minister without portfolio. But he was not sworn in because he is under quarantine.
He told Radio Al-Balad that the government would do its best to represent the nation.
“I hope we will be in touch with all Jordanians in all governorates and to send them a message that the government represents all,” he said.
“We need to encourage investment to strengthen our currency and to provide new jobs.”
He expressed his confidence in the Jordanian people, calling them loyal, and said he was sure they would do whatever was needed if they were assured that the government was working on their behalf.
Hanna Sawalha, owner of Nebo Tours, said the new government must prioritize policies that could help with recovery efforts and kick-start the business sector once the impact of the pandemic had subsided.
“We need immediate help with hotels, agencies, and guides who have paid a high price,” he told Arab News.
“A stimulus package will help keep this industry, which has been a major supporter of the economy of Jordan, from collapsing completely.”
Sawalha praised the new minister of tourism.
“In his previous position as minister of tourism, he made sure that the Jordan pass was approved by the government. We hope that he gives the industry the attention it needs at this difficult time.”


President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon

Updated 40 min 4 sec ago

President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon

President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon
  • Said Tehran would have to agree to new demands if return to deal was possible
  • Added Tehran must address its “malign” regional activities through proxies

LONDON: US President-elect Joe Biden said he is against Iran gaining a nuclear weapon, adding it is the “last thing” the Middle East region needs, in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday.

Biden also said that his administration would seek to extend the duration of “restrictions on Iran’s production of fissile material that could be used to make a (nuclear) bomb” in any new negotiations on a nuclear deal.

He added that Tehran would have to agree to new demands if a return to a deal was possible and that it must address its “malign” regional activities through proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Incumbent President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal struck in 2018 and reimposed strong sanctions on Iran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic republic.

Biden, who defeated Trump at the ballot box last month, said during campaigning that he did not support the lifting of sanctions but intended to offer Iran a “credible path back to diplomacy.”

However, in the NYT interview published on Wednesday, he admitted that getting Iran to agree to a modified deal would be “hard.”

“Look, there’s a lot of talk about precision missiles and all range of other things that are destabilizing the region,” Biden was quoted as saying.

“The best way to achieve getting some stability in the region” was to deal “with the nuclear program,” he added.

The president-elect warned that if Iran acquired a bomb, it would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and that “the last . . . thing we need in that part of the world is a buildup of nuclear capability,” he added.

“In consultation with our allies and partners, we’re going to engage in negotiations and follow-on agreements to tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints, as well as address the missile program,” he told the Times.

Biden was cited as saying that the US always had the option to snap back sanctions if needed, and that Iran knew that.

The JCPOA had given Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

* With AFP