Jordan, Iraq discuss enhancing ties

تم نشره في Sun 26 October / Oct 2014. 07:11 PM - آخر تعديل في Sun 26 October / Oct 2014. 07:11 PM

AMMAN (Petra) - Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and his Iraqi counterpart, Haider al-Abadi, on Sunday led officials from the two countries at a meeting to discuss ways of strengthening bilateral relations in various fields.

Welcoming his Iraqi counterpart, Ensour said the Iraqi delegation's visit was a strong indication of the Iraqi government's desire to increase cooperation with Jordan, especially since it comes close on the heels of the new government taking over in Iraq.

The premier stressed that Jordan, led by His Majesty King Abdullah II, supports all sections of the Iraqi state. "We want a strong Iraq, not a fragmented one, to be a solid support to the Arab nation," he added.

Ensour pointed out that the Jordanian-Iraqi relations are historically deep and entrenched, expressing hope for Iraq's security and stability and wishing its people further progress and prosperity.

Abadi said that he had met with His Majesty King Abdullah II in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, where they had discussed several issues of interest to the process of cooperation between the two countries, including his current visit to Jordan.

He stressed on the Iraqi government's keenness towards forging closer ties with neighboring countries. "Our future vision is to have an integrated relationship by linking the political, economic and commercial interests, so that the trade and economic interests follow the political relations," al-Abadi said.

The Iraqi prime minister highlighted security and terrorism challenges facing his country, foremost of which is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), aka Daash, that is destroying all components of the Iraqi civilization.

The two sides discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, activating the agreements signed between the two countries and overcoming any obstacles in the way of increased mutual cooperation and trade, particularly since Jordan and Iraq have a free trade agreement.

Also on the agenda was an oil pipeline project between Jordan and Iraq, whereby Aqaba will become a strategic port to export Iraqi oil and supply Jordan a certain amount of oil. The two sides stressed their commitment towards implementing the strategic venture, as Jordan has offered to import Iraqi oil by steamship, though the move remained stalled since the beginning of this year due to deteriorating security in Iraq.

The two sides also tackled the issue of 12 Jordanians jailed in Iraq after Baghdad earlier released five other prisoners. Jordan asked for a special amnesty or the extradition of the prisoners to serve the rest of their terms in Jordan under the al-Riyad Convention, with the exception of those convicted on terrorism charges.

Another outstanding issue was that of debt as well as allowing the flag carrier, Royal Jordanian, to increase flights to Iraq in addition to rail and electrical linkages and improving the land route between the two countries.

Iraq praised Jordan's support for Iraq's security and stability, pointing out that in the light of the regional and international coalition against terrorism, more cooperation and coordination between the two countries is required.

The Iraqi side demanded that Jordan facilitate the procedures for the transit of Iraqi dates destined for North African countries, and that Ensour issued instructions to resolve this matter immediately.