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King, Japan PM discuss opportunities to boost ties, regional challenges

$300 million development policy loan from Japan signed to support Jordan’s budget

By JT - Nov 28,2018 - Last updated at Nov 28,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah’s talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Tuesday focused on opportunities to advance political and economic cooperation, and bolster the strategic partnership between Japan and Jordan.

King Abdullah and Prime Minister Abe affirmed their commitment to developing bilateral ties and maintaining coordination and consultation over issues of mutual concern, in service of the two peoples, a Royal Court statement said.

Abe said, “Japan will continue to firmly support Jordan” through its public and private sectors.

“Jordan is an indispensable and critically important strategic partner”, the prime minister added, in remarks to the press after the talks.

“I am determined to work hand in hand with His Majesty King Abdullah II to vigorously develop the relationship between Japan and Jordan in all possible areas, and to contribute together to the peace and prosperity of the region and the world,” the prime minister said.

Following the talks, His Majesty and Abe witnessed the signing of an agreement for a $300 million development policy loan presented by the Japanese government over three years to support Jordan’s budget.

The King and Abe also witnessed the signing of a bilateral investment treaty to promote and protect investments.

In the statements to the press after the talks, His Majesty thanked Prime Minister Abe for the warm welcome and stressed the strong, strategic and deep-rooted ties between Jordan and Japan.

“During this visit, I have had the honour to meet again with Their Imperial Majesties and with His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince. And this was an opportunity to strengthen the traditional relationship between the two royal houses,” the King said.

“I would also like to congratulate Japan and Osaka on winning the rights to host the 2025 World Expo, a truly well-deserved achievement,” His Majesty added.

The King thanked Japan for providing support to mitigate the impact of the refugee crisis on Jordan and for working to support UNRWA, according to the statement.

“Japan has continuously demonstrated that it is a very strong and reliable partner,” His Majesty said, adding: “This is a relationship and a partnership that Jordan is truly proud of”.

“We would also like to thank you for the strong strategic partnership that extends to countering terrorism and extremism,” the King added, expressing appreciation for Japan’s efforts in the diplomatic, economic and development domains to help Jordan deal with the various challenges.

His Majesty said talks with Abe covered “many regional challenges, including Syria, the peace process and the stability that is needed in our region”.

The King added that “the challenges between Israel and Palestine” were also discussed, affirming the need for a two-state solution leading to an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

“This challenge, if left unresolved, is a conflict that will remain a rallying cry for extremists and will continue to hold back regional progress and prosperity,” His Majesty warned.

For his part, Prime Minister Abe stressed Jordan’s key stabilising role in the region.

“Jordan is the cornerstone of stability in the Middle East. I would like to express my deepest respect for the leadership of His Majesty,” he said.

“We highly appreciate the efforts of Jordan as they generously receive a large number of Syrian refugees and do their utmost to deal with the Middle East peace process,” the Japanese prime minister added, commending Jordan’s efforts to counter terrorism and extremism.

Commenting on the loan agreement, Prime Minister Abe said: “We believe that this loan shall contribute to the fiscal reform and autonomous economic development of Jordan.”

He also noted the signing of the investment agreement, voicing hope “that economic exchanges between Japan and Jordan will be further promoted”.

“I am deeply grateful to His Majesty for his discussions on various recent developments in the Middle East, full of his sharp insight and profound thoughts,” the prime minister said.

“We will continue to expand and strengthen our dialogues and cooperation in extensive areas, including politics, security, defence, counter-extremism, amongst others,” Abe added.

At the talks, the King and Abe reiterated the importance of building on joint agreements, increasing Japanese investments in Jordan and advancing cooperation in the industrial, military and vocational training fields, as well as exchanging expertise in vital sectors.

The King noted the importance of the fourth policy dialogue meeting between Jordan and Japan, which will be held in Amman early next year, to expand cooperation in a number of sectors.

His Majesty also emphasised the importance of Japan’s participation in the upcoming investment conference set, to be hosted in London next year, to support Jordan’s economy.

The King said that Jordan will focus at the conference on plans and programmes geared towards economic growth and generating job opportunities.

The talks, attended by His Royal Highness Prince Omar Bin Al Feisal and senior officials on both sides, also covered developments in the Middle East, as well as Jordanian-Japanese cooperation in countering terrorism.

His Majesty expressed appreciation for Japan’s active participation in the Aqaba meetings, which are aimed at bolstering security and military coordination and cooperation, as well as the exchange of expertise and information among the various regional and international partners in the fight against terrorism within a holistic approach.

Earlier on Tuesday, an official welcoming ceremony was held for the King at the Japanese prime ministry.

Prime Minister Abe and Mrs Akie Abe later hosted an official dinner in honour of Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania, and the accompanying delegation.

Her Majesty had earlier met with Mrs Abe and discussed a number of issues related to education and the rights of children.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah held another meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Tuesday and discussed Jordanian-Japanese relations and the latest developments in the Middle East.

The strong ties of friendship between the two countries and the keenness to advance them in multiple areas were also highlighted, in addition to the importance of maintaining coordination and consultation on issues of mutual concern, another Royal Court statement said.

The meeting also covered a number of regional issues, foremost of which is the need to push the peace process forward, according to the statement.

The King reaffirmed to Kono that no effort should be spared towards the realisation of peace and the establishment of the Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance to the two-state solution.

Relaunching Palestinian-Israeli negotiations is fundamental to peace efforts, King Abdullah conveyed to the Japanese minister.

The King commended Japan’s efforts in pursuit of peace in the region, through the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity initiative launched over 10 years ago.

The financial challenges facing UNRWA were also discussed, and His Majesty praised Japan’s role in providing support to the agency to enable it to continue its education, health and relief services.

Moreover, discussions addressed the importance of reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis that safeguards Syria’s territorial integrity, the unity of its people and guarantees the safe return of Syrian refugees.

The King and Kono also touched on efforts to counter terrorism within a holistic approach.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas, Jordan’s Chargé d’Affaires in Tokyo Raghad Al Saqqa and Japan’s Ambassador to Jordan Hidenao Yanagi attended the meeting.

Also on Tuesday, the King, accompanied by Abe, visited the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force Camp Narashino and attended a military exercise.

His Royal Highness Prince Omar Bin Al Feisal and Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas attended the drill.

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