Avatar photo

Peter Millett

Ambassador to Libya, Tripoli

Part of UK in Jordan

18th February 2015

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Dear Jordan,

Our love affair has lasted for four years. But I’m afraid it’s time to break up. I have to leave.

It’s going to be hard to do. As Juliet said to Romeo: “parting is such sweet sorrow”. We will be really sad, but it’s time to move on.

Of course I knew from the start that you’d had many relationships before. People reminded me of the “historical relationship” with some of my compatriots. That man Glubb seems to have left a mark. But I’m not the jealous type. And anyway I wanted to build a firm friendship that looked to the future rather than the past.

I’d like to think we’ve done that.  When it came to what we were trying to achieve, we agreed early on that our prime aim was to bolster the security, stability and prosperity of Jordan.

I have shown that the UK is a strong supporter and friend of Jordan. And that we’ve put our money where our mouth is: in the last 3 years we have contributed over JD240million in support for Jordan.

Prince Charles’ visit last week was a strong demonstration of the links between royal families; but also a symbol of the links between people.

This friendship has not just been professional but also personal. It is the people of Jordan who have made our time here special.   Not just the people we meet in Amman. But also in the regions where the welcome is always warm and genuine.   Mansaf Diplomacy helps; it has given me a taste of the real hospitality of the Jordanian people.

The places we’ve visited are also special. Not just the magnificent places like Petra, Jerash and Wadi Rum. But the places that take a bit more effort like Umm Qais and the spectacular wadis and canyons of the Dead Sea Rift Valley.

British Ambassador Peter Millett abseiling in Wadi Numeira
British Ambassador Peter Millett abseiling in Wadi Numeira

So why am I leaving? Why do we have to break up? I hope you don’t think it was something you said.   Was it the driving? Was it the rubbish left in some of your most beautiful places? Was it the smoking in restaurants?

As in any relationship, you have to take the rough with the smooth; you have to tolerate things you don’t like.  I know that from your point of view, such comments from an outsider are never flavour of the month. But after four years of friendship, I hope you’ll take them in the spirit I intend. I only mention them because I suspect you also find these things annoying.

I am conscious that I am leaving you at a difficult time. You live in a dangerous neighbourhood. Maintaining security, generating new jobs, developing your own democracy: these are not easy tasks. But you have a strong symbol of national unity in the monarchy and strong leadership in King Abdullah. His vision of a secure, stable, democratic and prosperous Jordan is a worthy aspiration. Delivering it won’t be easy.

As we have discussed many times, progress is impossible without change. And change is a fundamental component of the stability we both want.

Reform will take time: evolution is better than revolution. Securing that reform means tackling entrenched attitudes for example in education, and in the public sector. And it means creating a true meritocracy where the only factor in whether someone gets a job is that they are the best candidate, irrespective of their background.

You have many friends around the world. That was proven in the last few weeks by the messages of sympathy and support sent from all corners of the world after the dreadful murder of Muath al-Kasasbeh.

British Ambassador Peter Millett with His Majesty King Abdullah II
British Ambassador Peter Millett with His Majesty King Abdullah II

Your friends will help you. But they also need you to help yourself to deliver the King’s vision. The steps necessary to implement reform are up to you, and have to be based on your history, traditions and culture.

We will take many happy memories with us and leave many friends. Good luck. Yateekum il-afieh!

8 comments on “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

  1. U were an outstanding colleague in your early years in Caracas and of course u became an outstanding rep of the Service.

  2. Dear Peter,

    Congratulations. During my months here in Amman as a British citizen, the brighest compliments given to our country refer to your 4 years presence as an honorable representative. At a recent press conference they asked you what can the UK learn from Jordan? “Evolution is better than revolution” – a key reminder of inspiring resiliance in Jordan and amongst its people. Meanwhile best of luck taking back everything you’ve learnt to help build the brightest future for both countries.

  3. The news of your decision to leave surprised us all. We will miss you, but realize that exciting opportunities and challenges await you.

    It has been an honor to be our ambassador of the UK in Amman for the past four years. We have all benefited from your work and wisdom and wish you every success on your career path.


  4. Best wishes in your new post, wherever it is. It will be hard to find somewhere with such kind people in a beautiful country.

  5. It was such a great pleasure to know you @Peter Millet .
    Thank you for everything you have done to advance Jordanian- British relations.We know that ambassadors are the( modern nomads) who have to keep on moving from one place to another, but Jordanians will always remember you as the diplomat who genuinely loved Jordan, cared for it and moved freely all across it ; a diplomat who was a master at” Mansaf diplomacy” and who utilized it in the best way to further strengthen relations between Jordan and The United Kingdom.
    Yes, diplomats come and go but only a few leave an everlasting mark, and ..Peter, you top the list.
    Thank you.

  6. Excellency,
    Your departure would be a great loss, it is unfortunate that your term has expired.
    Allow me to thank your country and you in person for the sincere efforts you put to help and support our country. It has been a great pleasure knowing you, your wisdom and professional guidance kept the momentum of positive achievements, in a very difficult and unstable times.

    I learned from you, how important to be humble and down to earth, and I still remember your attitude when we last met in Cairo during the delayed flight to North Africa. You avoid mentioning even to the officer on the front desk that you are the Ambassodar of Britan, and you are holding a diplomatic passport, just because you refuse any special arrangements. That was a great message that you sent not only for me but also for my colleagues accompanying me in the same flight.
    Hats off for the great job you did to Jordan, we are looking to work with your successor in the same spirit of cooperation that would achieve the best for our both countries.

    Wish you all the best in your new post.

    Ramzi Nuzha

  7. hss it been really 4 years since you came to Jordan ?It certainly does not feel like it. But the reason why it does not feel like it is because we find it way too soon to see you leave . You have generated so much positive impact among all in Jordan , Politicians, private citizens, farmers, startups , public sector , private sector . You name it. And you gained the respect of many in Jordan for your care and passion for Jordan.

    No, we were not annoyed by your comments on traffic or left garbage in some of our beautiful places. You reminded us of how important these things are and sometimes people listened and took action.

    Wish you continued success in whatever you embark on next and don’t forget that you have many friends in Jordan

Comments are closed.

About Peter Millett

Peter arrived in Tunis on 23 June 2015 to take up his post as Ambassador to Libya. Previously he was British Ambassador to Jordan from February 2011 to June 2015. He was High Commissioner to…

Peter arrived in Tunis on 23 June 2015 to take up his post as
Ambassador to Libya.
Previously he was British Ambassador to Jordan from February 2011 to June 2015.
He was High Commissioner to Cyprus from 2005 – 2010.
He was Director of Security in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
from 2002-2005, dealing with all aspects of security for British
diplomatic missions overseas.
From 1997-2001 he served as Deputy Head of Mission in Athens.
From 1993-96 Mr Millett was Head of Personnel Policy in the FCO.
From 1989-93 he held the post of First Secretary (Energy) in the UK
Representative Office to the European Union in Brussels, representing
the UK on all energy and nuclear issues.
From 1981-1985 he served as Second Secretary (Political) in Doha.
Peter was born in 1955 in London.  He is married to June Millett and
has three daughters, born in 1984, 1987 and 1991.  
His interests include his family, tennis and travel.