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Greek ambassador hails ‘excellent’ ties with Jordan on national day

‘We really appreciate the moderate and constructive stance of Jordan‘

By JT - Mar 28,2021 - Last updated at Mar 28,2021

Eleftheria Galathianaki

AMMAN — Jordanian-Greek relations are based on the solid foundations of friendship, trust and mutual respect, said Athens’ Ambassador in Amman Eleftheria Galathianaki.

In an interview with The Jordan Times on the occasion of the Independence Day of Greece, the ambassador said that diplomatic relations between Jordan and Greece have been developing throughout the past 54 years.

“However, there is a great potential for deepening the relations even more in all fields; political, economic/trade, and cultural, to the benefit of our peoples,” she said.

Elaborating on bilateral ties, the envoy said that the high level visits that took place reflect “the depth of our relations”.

Greek Foreign Minister N. Dendias’ held very productive deliberations with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi during his visit to Jordan in December 2019, Galathianaki said. The two ministers met again in Amman, in December 2020, as part of the framework of the ministerial trilateral meeting of foreign ministers of Jordan, Cyprus and Greece.

The tripartite scheme of regional cooperation contributes to the regional security, according to Galathianaki. The tripartite summit is scheduled to take place in Greece this year.

“The participation of Iraq in our trilateral scheme with Cyprus will add value to our cooperation, which now will be more inclusive, covering a wider area and giving us the possibility to enhance our objectives,” she said.

The ambassador said that Jordan and Greece maintain “excellent relations” at the political, security and economic levels.

“We regard Jordan as a model of peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. We commend the role of His Majesty King Abdullah II, as the Custodian of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem. We acknowledge the excellent cooperation between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Galathianaki said.

“We really appreciate the moderate and constructive stance of Jordan at the regional and international levels and we support Jordan’s initiatives that contribute to peace, stability and security. We consider the Hashemite Kingdom as one of the most influential countries in the region. Let us not forget that Jordan is one of the main players in the Middle East Peace Process,” she added.

“We welcome the very good cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan within the UN system. Greece always adopts a supportive stance within the EU, whenever issues of Jordanian interest are discussed,” she said.

Security cooperation is a privileged area of bilateral cooperation, the ambassador added. “Jordan is a valuable partner in our efforts to combat terrorism and extremism. We acknowledge the existing interdependence between the two countries in our common efforts to enhance peace, security and stability in our wider region,” Galathianaki said.

The two countries maintain “a very successful military cooperation”. Currently 48 Jordanians study in Greek military schools. The number of Jordanian alumni from Greek military schools exceeds 3,000, according to the envoy.

The energy sector has proven to be a very promising sector for strategic cooperation as both countries are founding members of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, an intergovernmental organisation that promotes regional cooperation, she noted.

Touching on economic and commercial ties, the ambassador said: “The trade volume of our countries has increased through the last decade, nevertheless, it is below our ambitions and does not reflect the capabilities of both countries. In 2019, it reached 48.68 million euros.”

Despite negative expectations due to the pandemic, the trade volume increased by 7.4 per cent. More specifically Jordanian exports to Greece rose by 46.1 per cent, while Greek exports to Jordan dropped by 4.1 per cent, she said.

The key Greek exports to Jordan are pharmaceutical products, fresh fruit, hydrocarbon gas and cosmetics. Greece’s imports from Jordan include mainly copper, fertilisers and argil, according to the envoy.

“We should explore existing opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation in a broad spectrum of fields including renewable energy, water resources management, waste management, agribusiness, port cooperation and maritime transport, construction, tourism, pharmaceuticals, and others. We are convinced that the recent creation of the Jordanian-Greek Business Association will strengthen and support our efforts to boost our exchanges,” she said.

Elaborating on cooperation and stances on regional issues, the ambassador said that Greece has always supported a just, viable and comprehensive two-state solution to the Palestinian issue, within the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, in accordance with UN resolutions and International Law.

Regarding Syria, “we believe that it is necessary to continue striving for a political solution that, on one hand, will preserve the unity, national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria in line with UNSCR 2254, helping at the same time the safe and decent return of refugees and displaced persons and the withdrawal of foreign troops,” the ambassador said. 

Concerning Libya, the ongoing political process in the country presents “a unique opportunity” for reaching a political solution to the crisis, she said. “Establishing sustainable, Libyan-owned and led peace, while at the same time safeguarding Libya’s territorial integrity and unity remain critical. We have welcomed the emergence of a transitional leadership in the country. There can be no military solution in the Libyan conflict. All foreign troops and fighters should leave,” Galathianaki said.

Regarding the refugee crisis, the envoy said that Jordan and Greece are host countries to numerous refugees and migrants.

“My country recognises and appreciates the generosity and the valuable contribution of Jordan in providing shelter to the people fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and Palestine. Greece is supporting Jordan in this difficult humanitarian task through its contributions via the EU and UN humanitarian and developmental projects, implemented by the Hashemite Kingdom,” she said. 

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