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Jordan-Spain ties built on ‘foundation of high trust’ — ambassador

By JT - Jul 12,2023 - Last updated at Jul 12,2023

Spain’s Ambassador to Jordan Miguel de Lucas speaks during an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Spain’s Ambassador to Jordan Miguel de Lucas noted that the relations between Spain and Jordan extend “beyond mere friendship”, describing bilateral ties as “built on a foundation of high trust, mutual respect and deep historical ties between the two Royal families”.

During an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra, de Lucas underscored the significance of the His Majesty King Abdullah and Queen Rania’s recent visit to Spain, during which King Abdullah and King Felipe, as well as with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, held crucial meetings.

The ambassador noted that the agreements reached during the meetings aim to strengthen ties between the two countries, the meeting in Cordoba, where discussions tackled the Aqaba Meetings, being a “notable highlight”. It also included both leaders’ historic visit to the Cordoba Mosque.

Regarding economic cooperation, the ambassador noted the significant increase in Spanish exports to Jordan. In 2022, Spanish exports amounted to approximately $396 million, reflecting a noteworthy 24.6 per cent surge compared to 2021. The key export sectors included live animals, machinery, ceramics, seeds and perfumes. Additionally, Jordan’s exports to Spain reached around $87 million, marking a 28.7 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The main Jordanian exports consisted of inorganic chemicals, particularly potassium nitrate, fertilisers and mechanical equipment.

“Spain holds the fifth position among the European Union countries in terms of total exports to Jordan, accounting for 9 per cent of the market share. Similarly, Spain stands as the fifth-largest importer from Jordan, with imports representing 11 per cent of the country’s total imports,” he added.

The ambassador also highlighted Spanish companies’ involvement in developing renewable energy infrastructure in Jordan, particularly solar photovoltaic and wind energy stations. Furthermore, Spanish companies played a vital role in the renovation and expansion of the industrial port of Aqaba, inaugurated last year, he said.

In terms of development aid, the ambassador noted noting that Spain’s development assistance to Jordan between 2015 and 2021 amounted to 24.4 million euros, primarily in health, governance, gender equality, social protection, water and sanitation projects.

“In coordination with the EU, we are carrying out the following cooperation projects: Qudra II: ‘Resilience for refugees and host communities in response to the protracted Syrian and Iraqi crises’, REAYAH: Improving the public health system, improving access to gender-sensitive prevention and protection services for vulnerable communities in Jordan,” he said.

Other projects include: Access to Justice in Jordan, NAHAZA: Civil Society Support for Democratic Governance, in addition to Spanish NGOs contributing to the implementation of the projects, the ambassador added.

The ambassador also noted the growing tourism cooperation between the two countries, highlighting that the number of Spanish visitors to Jordan exceeded 38,000 in 2022, approaching pre-pandemic levels. 

De Lucas also highlighted the collaborative project “Egiria”, which revolves around the historical journey of a Spanish woman who arrived in Jordan in the 4th century. The signing of an agreement between the Jordanian authorities and representatives of the Santiago Camino de Santiago in Spain is forthcoming to facilitate the exchange of expertise for the implementation of the “Egiria route”.

Sharing Spain’s priorities during its rotational presidency of the European Union, the ambassador said: “The link between Jordan and the Spanish presidency of the EU will have two main pillars: The Southern Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean.”

He also noted Jordan’s “very important” role as co-chair of the Union for the Mediteranean (UfM), noting that the UfM Regional Forum will take place on November 27 in Barcelona.

Furthermore, he reiterated Spain’s firm commitment to the Palestinian cause and the two-state solution, emphasising the need to support and respect the current historical status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem, and highlighting Jordan’s crucial role in maintaining stability through the Hashemite Custodianship over the holy sites.

The ambassador also expressed his gratitude for Jordan’s significant efforts in hosting refugees, noting that Spain “believes strongly in global solidarity and burden-sharing”, demonstrated by its partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

“Spain is the seventh-largest contributor to UNHCR, providing approximately 11 million euros annually to support humanitarian efforts,” he added.

 

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