You are here

FM, Dutch counterpart address Syria, Palestinian cause, refugee support

Safadi, Hoekstra hold expanded talks in Amman

By JT - May 08,2023 - Last updated at May 08,2023

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Ayman Safadi and Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra hold expanded talks in Amman on Monday (Photo courtesy of Foreign Ministry)

AMMAN — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Ayman Safadi and Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra on Monday held expanded talks that focused on enhancing bilateral relations between the two kingdoms and within the scope of the partnership with the EU.

During Hoekstra's first visit to Jordan, the two ministers went over several regional and international issues, particularly the Palestinian cause and the pan-Arab efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

The ministers underscored the "depth" of Jordanian-Dutch relations, and agreed to hold a new round of political consultations to identify future priorities for cooperation with a focus on the water and agriculture sectors.

At a press conference following the meeting, Safadi said that the talks covered importance of cooperation in economic endeavours andthe investment, defence and security, agricultural and water sectors.

Safadi briefed Hoekstra on the latest developments related to the crisis in Syria and on the new Arab political path launched afterthe Jeddah and Amman meetings, which has been under the Arab League’s umbrella as of Sunday.

Sunday’s Arab League meeting and the resulting decision to restore Syria's membership came as part of a leading Arab effort to achieve a political solution to the crisis in Syria and address all its humanitarian, security and political consequences in accordance with a step-by-step methodology consistent with international legitimacy resolutions, the statement said.

“We are in the region most affected by the crisis in Syria," Safadi said, pointing out the many disasters caused by the crisis. The crisis management methodology adopted over the past years has only produced more devastation, destruction and suffering for Syrians, and has magnified threats to the region and the world. Therefore steps must have been taken to gradually resolve this crisis, Safadi added.

“All are aware of the difficulty and complexity of the solution in light of the many issues that need to be addressed, but we have started and will continue on this path because the option of not engaging entails the continuation of the current situation, which we as neighbouring countries cannot afford,” the foreign minister said.

Safadi’s talks with his Dutch counterpart also covered the Palestinian issue as a priority item for the Kingdom. 

The minister informed Hoekstra of the efforts,led by His Majesty King Abdullah, to halt the deterioration of the current situation and create a political ground conducive to achieving a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution that embodies the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the pre-1967 lines, to live in security and peace alongside Israel.

Peace is the right of all people of the region, Safadi stressed, warning that the continued absence of a political ground coupled withsteps that undermine the viability of the two-state solution pushes towards further escalation on the ground.

Safadi praised the Netherlands' unwavering position in support of the two-state solution and peaceful efforts.

Safadi also expressed his appreciation for the Netherlands' support to refugees and host countries. Managing the refugee issue is not the sole responsibility of host countries, but is rather an international responsibility, he added.

The international community should provide the necessary support to refugees, relevant UN organisations and host countries to provide them with a decent standard of living, Safadi said.

For his part, Hoekstra commended Jordan’srole in realising regional stability and hosting refugees.

He also expressed his appreciation for Jordan's support in evacuating Dutch citizens from Sudan, characterising Amman's role in evacuation efforts as “pivotal”.

Jordan is a crucial partner for the Netherlands, Hoekstra stressed, referring to the depth of relations between the two kingdoms. The Dutch foreign minister said that he is “looking forward” to broader prospects for future cooperation between Jordan and the Netherlands.

He likewise stressed his country's keenness to provide assistance to Amman, particularly in the agricultural and water sectors, noting that the two kingdoms are working together to address challenges such as climate change and refugee crises.

Safadi also stressed that the Kingdom appreciates the Netherlands' continued support to Jordan in addressing economic challenges resulting from hosting refugees, both bilaterally and through EU institutions.

The foreign minister also referred to the decline in the international support to refugees, stressing the need to provide the proper support to refugees, host countries and relevant international organisations.

Safadi placed a particular emphasis on the importance of supporting UNRWA, whose main role in providing vital services to refugees is “indispensable”. In this regard, Safadi praised the Dutch support to UNRWA, referring to Amman's continued efforts to mobilise financial and political support to theUN agency.

In response to a question about reports of an air strike on a narcotics factory in southern Syria, Safadi said: "When we take any step to protect our national security and face any threat to it, we will announce it in a timely manner." 

Narcotics smuggling is a major threat to the Kingdom, the region and the entire world in light of the escalation of drug trafficking operations, he added.

The recently held Amman meeting alsoaddressed the narcotics issue, and an agreement was reached with the Syrian government to establish a joint political-security group to address this threat, Safadi said.

Responding to a question about cooperation in the tourism sector, Hoekstra said that as Petra is one of the wonders of the world and a great tourist destination, the Netherlands encourages its citizens to visit it. There are opportunities for business development in Jordan, and tourism is part of it, he added.

Diplomatic relations between the two kingdoms date back to 1951, according to the Foreign Ministry statement. 

Last year's trade exchange between the two countries amounted to $388 million, and the Netherlands was the top European destination for Jordanian exports last year. Jordan's exports to the Netherlands amounted to $174 million in 2022, the statement added.

23 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.