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Jordan-Germany ties ‘at their closest’

His Majesty says Kingdom grateful for ‘historic German support’

By JT - Jan 28,2018 - Last updated at Jan 29,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah meets German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Amman on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday held talks that focused on strategic partnership and the latest regional developments, according to a Royal Court statement.

During the discussions, held at Al Husseiniya Palace in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania and Steinmeier’s spouse, King Abdullah and the German president went over means to develop cooperation between the two countries, especially at the economic, investment, tourism, development, military, security and ICT levels.

Speaking at the start of an expanded meeting, His Majesty welcomed President Steinmeier in his new capacity as president and “as an old and dear friend of Jordan”.

Noting the strong, historical ties between Jordan and Germany, the King said the relationship is steadily advancing.

His Majesty cited the recent meetings with German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, and in Davos with Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss issues that Jordan and Germany see eye to eye on.

The King also highlighted the development of defence and security ties between the two countries, expressing keenness to advance them further “in this day and age”.

His Majesty expressed gratitude for the assistance that Germany provides to enable Jordan to overcome “the challenges that we are going through these days”, and “the historical support” it has offered over the years.

Praising Germany’s strong role in the region, His Majesty said discussions at the expanded meeting will cover several regional issues, foremost of which are “Jerusalem and the fate of the peace process”.

The King reiterated Jordan’s position on these issues, stressing that the Kingdom believes in a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

In addition, the King noted the successful collaboration of the two countries in the field of vocational and technical education.

For his part, President Steinmeier said relations between Jordan and Germany “cannot be closer”, and have grown stronger in the past years.

Though this is his first visit to Jordan as president, Steinmeier said the two countries’ friendship is long lasting, highlighting His Majesty’s visit to Germany in 2016, when he received the Peace of Westphalia Prize.

President Steinmeier said Germany follows Jordan’s policy in the region “with huge respect and admiration”, noting that the Kingdom is under difficult conditions, especially since 2011, when tens of thousands of Syrian refugees started coming to the Kingdom.

 Earlier on Sunday, the German president said he visited a school where Jordanian teachers “were very engaged” with Jordanian and Syrian students alike.

“I know this is a huge burden for Jordan,” President Steinmeier added, noting that this is one of the reasons why Germany has been “ready and responsible” to support the Kingdom in shouldering this burden.

Germany is also cooperating with Lebanon, which the president said he will also be visiting, to alleviate the impact of the refugee crisis.

Noting that refugees from Syria and elsewhere now account for a substantial portion of Jordan’s population, President Steinmeier said this has exacerbated the Kingdom’s burden amidst economic difficulties in the region.

The president said discussions would also focus on regional issues, namely Palestinian-Israeli relations and the future status of Jerusalem, as well as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which affect the entire region.

On the latest developments in the Palestinian issue and Jerusalem, His Majesty highlighted the importance of intensifying international efforts to end the stalemate in the peace process.

King Abdullah stressed that the Jerusalem issue must be settled within the final-status solution and a just, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which guarantee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Both leaders stressed the importance of sustaining coordination and consultation between the two countries on various issues of mutual interest, in a way that contributes to realising peace and enhancing regional security and stability.

Discussions also coevered the Kingdom’s reform efforts and its economic reform programme, in addition to means to increase Jordanian exports to European markets through facilitating the agreement to simplify the rules of origin for Jordanian exports to the EU.

Talks went over current regional crises and means to reach political solutions to them, in a bid to retrieve security and stability to the region’s peoples.

King Abdullah, in the presence of Queen Rania, held a lunch banquet in honour of Steinmeier, his spouse and the accompanying delegation. 

Also on Sunday, the German president headed to Jerash and toured the ancient Roman city, accompanied by Water Minister Hazem El Nasser and Tourism Minister Lina Annab.

Also in Jerash, 45km north of Amman, Steinmeier visited the Eastern Bath site, where a German-French archaeological mission is excavating in cooperation with the Department of Antiquities (DoA) and the University of Jordan.

Thomas Weber-Karyotakis, the head of the mission, said that the team has unearthed a marble statue of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, that dates back to 152 AD and a head of another statue of the Empress Julia Domna.

Jerash Mayor Ali Gogazeh briefed the president on the city of Jerash, its historic sites and Jerash Municipality’s development plans.          

Steinmeier also paid a visit to the King Hussein Business Park and met officials at the Oasis 500 building for entrepreneurship. 

The president had a firsthand look at an electronic application developed by a German company’s branch in the park. The application helps identify cancer cells and their percentage, which helps in diagnosing the disease in various stages. 

 

He also visited the business college affiliated with the German-Jordanian University, and listened to a briefing by university President Manar Fayyad on the specialisations offered by the faculty.

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