A Jordan free of mines
His Royal Highness The Crown Prince joined members of the Jordanian Royal Family in a ceremony marking the successful clearance of all landmines from Jordan. The ceremony was held by the Dead Sea on Tuesday.
Jordan has cleared all of the known minefields in its territory, thus fulfilling its obligations under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. Jordan is the first country in the Middle East to achieve this goal.
This is a significant achievement, said Crown Prince Haakon in his speech today. Jordan has shown courage, responsibility and persistence in turning the dream of a mine-free Jordan into reality in a region where landmines still represent a threat to peoples life and hinder social and economic development.
170 000 mines removed
Norway has been a key participant in the effort to achieve universal implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and has financed a large share of the demining operations in Jordan. Norwegian Peoples Aid has played an active role in this context, and has assisted the Jordanians with the removal of 170 000 landmines from the areas bordering Israel and Syria. The people living in the border regions can now reclaim the use of this land and begin farming once again.
The Crown Prince praised those who took part in the demining operations, and honoured those whose lives have been lost:
Today our thoughts are with the casualties of landmines, and with some thirteen hundred men and women who have dedicated their time, energy and efforts to the heroic task of clearing Jordans minefields . Omar Bani Salem paid the highest price, his life. As did several members of the Royal Engineers Corps. I honour their memory.
Green growth in Jordan
The Crown Prince was also in attendance when the Sahara Forest Project, a Norwegian R&D company focused on green growth, presented the results of its feasibility studies at a seminar in Amman on Tuesday. The project is seeking sustainable solutions to Jordans need for clean water, food and energy security.
More than 60 experts from 12 countries have participated in the studies, which demonstrate the potential of an innovative, cohesive approach in generating growth.
The Sahara Forest Project is partly owned by the Bellona Foundation, an international environmental NGO based in Norway.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.