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Iraq working ‘at full capacity’ to prepare border crossing for smooth trade

By JT - Feb 19,2018 - Last updated at Feb 19,2018

AMMAN — The government, upon direct Royal directives, is constantly working to further develop effective cooperation with Iraq in all fields, especially at security and economic levels, Interior Minister Ghaleb Zu'bi said on Sunday.

Zu'bi's remarks came during a meeting with Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim Araji, with whom he discussed ways to best serve the interests of both countries by enhancing bilateral relations in issues related to anti-terrorism, combatting extremism, border security, thwarting infiltration, human trafficking and trade exchange through the Karameh-Turaibil crossing, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Zu'bi said that Jordan always seeks to open wider horizons of cooperation with Iraq, that is currently opening up to regional partners after eliminating terrorist groups that had controlled large swathes of lands.  

As for the re-opening of the Karameh-Turaibil border crossing a few months ago, he said it has to be developed to facilitate the trade exchange and allow trucks to arrive at their final destinations, instead of the back-to-back unloading at the border and loading on Iraqi trucks, an expensive process, according to sector leaders. 

The minister also stressed Amman's willingness to cooperate with Baghdad in fighting terrorism, especially considering that the Kingdom has a sufficient experience in the field.

For his part, Araji, who was due to meet other officials in Amman and speak to the press on Monday for a wrap-up, said that the visit aimed to enhance bilateral relations and discuss security, political and economic issues of mutual interest. 

The Iraqi government is working “at full capacity” to facilitate movement through the Karameh-Tureibil border crossing, for being the shortest road for Iraqi and Jordanian goods to reach the other's market, it is an economic advantage. 

Araji added that “both countries were trying to address any challenges that impede a smooth flow of trade”.

The border crossing was closed for almost four years for security reasons, leaving Jordan unable to export to a major importing market like Iraq, which had significant repercussions on its economy, especially since the Syrian trade route is also blocked due to the war in the northern neighbour.

When the Iraq border was opened last year, obstacles arose, including the higher cost of transportation due to the fact that Jordanian trucks have had to the unload on the border. Prime Minister Hani Mulki has announced that this week, drivers can head directly to their destinations inside Iraq. 

The Iraqi official also underlined some issues related to the Iraqi community in the Kingdom, mainly fines on over-stayers. 

Director of the Public Security Department (PSD) Maj. Gen. Ahmad Faqih said that the department follows civilised procedures when dealing with guests arriving in and departing from the Kingdom.

Faqih voiced the PSD’s willingness to cooperate with Iraqi authorities in fields that can guarantee the security of the Iraqi community and facilitate residency procedures in the Kingdom.

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