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King, Iraqi president agree to expand cooperation, increase trade exchange

Razzaz meets with Saleh separately, discusses joint projects

By JT - Nov 15,2018 - Last updated at Nov 15,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with Iraqi President Barham Saleh at Basman Palace on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday met with Iraqi President Barham Saleh at Basman Palace, where they agreed to expand cooperation between the two countries in various fields, including economy, trade, investment, energy and transportation. 

During expanded meetings, attended by top officials from both countries, the two leaders stressed the need for going forward in the implementation of joint economic projects, particularly the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline, the rehabilitation of the Amman-Bagdad Highway and establishing a joint industrial zone at the Jordanian-Iraqi border, according to a Royal Court statement.

Earlier on Thursday, His Majesty received the Iraqi president at Marka Military Airport, where an official reception ceremony was held.

The Iraqi president highlighted the significance of the joint projects, particularly the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline, a strategic project for Iraq, and called on Jordanian companies to benefit from investment opportunities in Iraq.

The King and Saleh stressed the necessity of improving conditions to increase trade between the two countries and ease the entry of Jordanian products to the Iraqi market, as well as the importance of exchanging visits between both countries’ public and private sectors to build on existing agreements, foster trade exchange and implement joint investment projects.

His Majesty and the president voiced their pride in the deep historic ties between Jordan and Iraq, and expressed keenness to continue coordination and consultation over issues of mutual interest, to benefit both countries and peoples as well as Arab causes, the statement added.

King Abdullah congratulated Saleh on his election by the Iraqi parliament and the success of the political process in Iraq, underlining Jordan’s support to maintaining the unity and stability of Iraq in a way that serves the Iraqi people’s needs and aspirations of progress and prosperity. 

The talks also focused on counterterrorism efforts within a holistic strategy, where the King commended the Iraqi efforts in that regard, stressing the need for intensifying regional and international endeavours in the war against terrorism, cooperation to defeat it and enhance a tolerant discourse among faiths and religions.

Talks also tackled the Syrian crisis, underscoring the need for finding a political solution to the conflict that safeguards Syria’s territorial and social unity.

For his part, Saleh stressed Iraq’s keenness on fostering cooperation with Jordan, expressing appreciation for His Majesty’s efforts in supporting Iraq to maintain its security and stability standing alongside it in the fight against terror.

The Iraqi president congratulated His Majesty on receiving the 2018 Templeton Prize for his efforts in interfaith harmony, safeguarding Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and protecting religious freedom.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas, General Intelligence Department Director Maj. Gen. Adnan Jundi, Trade Minister Tareq Hammouri, Energy Minister Hala Zawati and Jordan’s Ambassador to Iraq Muntaser Zu’bi. 

On the Iraqi side, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, Trade Minister Salman Jumaili, Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan Safia Talib Al Suhail, among other top ranking officials, attended the meeting.

His Majesty held a lunch banquet in honour of the Iraqi President Barham Saleh and the accompanying delegation, the statement said.

Also on Thursday, Razzaz met separately with the Iraqi president, where the premier stressed the Kingdom’s keenness on enhancing bilateral ties and expanding areas of cooperation and investments, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Razzaz and Saleh discussed joint projects, particularly the Basra-Aqaba pipeline and the joint industrial zone, and explored the potential for building cooperation in the transport field, stressing the vitality of the sector for the economy and the need to ease procedures for the entry of Jordanian trucks into Iraq.

Saleh expressed his gratitude for Jordan’s provision of facilitations for Iraqis residing in the Kingdom, according to Petra.

Meanwhile, Safadi held a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Alhakim to follow up on directives and decisions made by King Abdullah and Saleh in their earlier meeting, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The two ministers agreed on setting a roadmap to enhance cooperation in various fields within specific timeframes.

Safadi and Hakim discussed several regional issues, especially those related to the Palestinian cause, expressing the dangerous ramifications of maintaining the status quo and expressed the need for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution.

Hakim said that the meetings were fruitful and tackled several issues of mutual interest. 

He added that the new Iraqi government has a realistic programme that needs implementation, especially after Iraq’s victory on the khawarej, the outlaws of Islam. 

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