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Jordan FM: Reforms Accelerated by Arab Spring

NICOSIA - A programme of ambitious reforms started by the King in Jordan has been accelerated by the Arab Spring, said Foreign Minister Nasser Juddeh after a meeting in Cyprus with FM Marcos Kyprianou.

The Commission for National Dialogue has adopted conclusions on election and political party legislation, and the Royal Commission is preparing preliminary findings on the revising Jordan's constitution, said Juddeh.

"His Majesty believes that the political, economic and social reforms are the only way. 17% of the population of Jordan are under 30 years and I believe this is true throughout the Arab world. This youth rightfully requires opportunities and a better life. For this we declare our commitment to the reform process," he said.

Nearby countries Egypt, Syria, Libya and Tunisia have all suffered from internal upheaval, violence and mass exoduses as refugees flee their own rulers. Monarchies in the region are facing the stark option of reform and offering their people more say in governing the country, or forced pro-democratic change as in Egypt and Libya.

Up until now, Jordan's monarchy has always been relatively popular with its people, but in the next few months it is clear that King Abdullah II will need to address any dissatisfaction with his rule. This was underscored earlier this month when clashes between pro-reform activists and security services occurred in southern Jordan. 

And it is a bad sign that Agence France Presse's office in Amman was stormed by a dozen men armed with clubs who smashed the furniture and threatened journalists after they reported the clashes. AFP has been ostracised by government officials and no longer receives programmes from senior officials or announcements from the king, said Reporters Without Borders.

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