Jordan and Saudi Arabia: Will the Objectives be Met? (1)

By: Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Thu 28 April / Apr 2016. 10:05 PM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

With his Majesty’s visit to Reyadh, last Wednesday, we witness the birth of a new era in Jordan-Saudi relations, outlining resolutions to many questions and concerns; particularly Jordanian, in respect to ties between the two countries.

The intimacy of the encounter indicates a positive, utterly new turn in relations between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, prefaced by a deepened bond, contrary to recent talks about the destabilisation of relations between Amman and Riyadh.

The new engagement comes in a time and a circumstance that does not vary much from regional and global conditions predominant over the past two years, with durable understandings between the two States, after condensed communications and many exchanged visits between the two leaders; not only over the duration of two years, but for many long years past.

However, the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” that stands today is different from the Saudi Arabia that stood two years ago. There is a new leadership with a different vision, seeking to open up to the region and the world, dressed in a new economic attire based on investing away from oil markets exhibiting sharp declines, in value as well as in returns, for over a year.

King Abdullah II understood the Saudi transformation and the rapid changes taking place. Which is why He chose former Chief of the Royal Court Dr Basem Awadallah to be Jordan’s special envoy to Saudi Arabia, with positive ties to Riyadh and Saudi leadership. Ever since his assignment, Awadallah has been seeking the attainment of success in this task over a year long.

This time, the former Chief of the Royal Court returns to spearhead the efforts to rearrange the new ties between Jordan and the new Saudi Arabia.

For since he was assigned in Saudi Arabia recently, Awadallah disappeared from you, only to return now on the occasion of signing the memorandum to establish the Saudi Jordan Coordination Council, which was not, in reality, the opening of a new discourse in relations between the two Kingdoms. Leaks over the months indicated works on attracting Saudi investment to Jordan have been underway, entailing the signing of the Coordination Council establishment memo was not a mere protocol, but an executive stride, following months of work, undeclared, on both sides.

The practical preparation, initiated last Ramadan, precisely a week after Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salam, visited the first time in August 2015, paved the way for the new partnership; for a week before the visit, a Saudi delegation of investment specialists, accompanied by Awadallah, was sent in an extensive tour around Jordan to explore investment potential. Afterwards, efforts continued silent over the past months, up until their inauguration in the latest Riyadh meet, crowned with the Coordination Council as a legal, political framework for the new-born relation between Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Obviously, the uncovered endeavours of past months have led to an actual achievement, comprised of establishment of new forms of Jordanian-Saudi cooperation, under the gigantic umbrella of the declared joint investment fund, declared in a memo signed during Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s last visit to Jordan on April 11th.

Jordanian inclination to attract Saudi investment, goes in hand, wholly, with Saudi’s new vision declared by the Deputy Crown Prince, just days ago, under the title “KSA Vision 2030”, based on the establishment of a sovereign investment fund up to USD2.3 trillion.

Success in the attraction of investments provides indeed the “magic wand” to our economic and financial problems, while retaining the current approach that is reliant upon grants against the expansion of the public sector, will deliver no less than a killing blow to real development and sustainability.