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Jordan, Japan sign deals to expand cooperation

By JT - Jan 18,2015 - Last updated at Jan 18,2015

AMMAN — Jordan and Japan on Sunday signed several agreements following talks that focused on ways to boost cooperation and the latest regional development. 

At a meeting, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, underlined the “strong” ties between Jordan and Japan, which last year marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

Ensour noted that the Kingdom deems Japan a “significant strategic partner” and one of the main supporters of Jordan through the technical and financial cooperation programme, which, he said, has played a main role in the successful implementation of development projects in the country.

Highlighting challenges facing the region, he underlined the need for the international community to support efforts to address terrorism and extremism.  

Japan’s premier voiced his country’s commitment to supporting Jordan in its endeavours to restore stability and peace in the Middle East, stressing the need for the exchange of economic and business expertise between the two countries. 

At the meeting, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ibrahim Saif noted that the two countries had recently concluded talks over extending a soft loan to Jordan. 

For his part, Minister of Public Works and Housing Sami Halaseh said that Jordan appreciates Japan’s willingness to contribute to renovating border crossings which link Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel. 

Minister of Water Hazem Nasser said the Kingdom is hoping that Japan would support the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project, which will contribute to enhancing the water situation in Jordan and address the Dead Sea’s degradation.

For his part, Higher Education Minister Amin Mahmoud suggested the establishment of a Jordanian-Japanese technical university in Jordan, while Minister of Industry and Trade Hatem Halawani called for setting up a permanent joint committee to discuss economic and trade ties.

Also during the meeting, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources signed a letter of intent with the AES Mistui Co., which owns and operates a private electricity generating station using solar cells. 

In addition, an agreement was signed between the private sectors of Jordan and Japan to establish Shams Maan, projected to be the largest solar energy project in the Middle East with an investment of up to $160 million.

The scheme, whose construction phases will start this year, is expected generate 700 jobs and provide Jordan with around 160 million kilowatts per hour, or 1 per cent of the Kingdom’s total annual consumption of energy upon completion, according to Petra.    

The two countries signed an agreement under which Japan will provide Jordan with grant aid for the rehabilitation and expansion of water networks in Balqa Governorate (2.238 billion yen), and the non-project grant aid for provision of Japanese SME products (200 million yen) in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The assistance is part of a Japanese grant to Jordan totalling approximately 2.4 billion yen ($1 is around 118 yen) announced during His Majesty King Abdullah’s visit to Tokyo late last year.




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