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Amman, Amsterdam seek to expand partnership ‘in creative new ways’

By JT - Mar 22,2018 - Last updated at Mar 22,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah delivers a speech at a dinner hosted by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Amsterdam on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday discussed with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte means to bolster bilateral ties in various fields and the latest regional developments, a Royal Court statement said.

During the meeting, His Majesty and Rutte agreed upon boosting cooperation, especially in trade, renewable energy, agriculture, water management, transport, small and medium-sized projects, innovation, ICT and military.

During the bilateral and the expanded talks, the King and the premier stressed the importance of the agreements that were signed during the visit.

The talks covered the agreement to ease the rules of origin for Jordanian exports to the EU and enhancing investment in Jordan, in addition to chances of acquiring the Dutch expertise in technical training.

His Majesty expressed appreciation for The Netherlands’ support for Jordan to help it address the refugee crisis and to implement development projects.

The meeting also covered the Middle East crises and efforts to reach political solutions to the ongoing conflicts. 

On Palestinian issue, the King stressed that reaching a just and inclusive solution to the conflict is key to stability in the entire region, underlining the importance of the EU role in activating the peace process.

He also stressed the need to intensify efforts to resume the peace process on the basis of the two-state solution, the international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, to lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

The talks touched on Israeli unilateral measures such as building illegal settlements, in addition to challenges that face Jerusalem’s churches and Jordan’s role in protecting them.

His Majesty and Rutte reviewed the challenges facing UNRWA and the need to support the agency to continue providing its educational, health and relief services to Palestinian refugees.

The discussions also covered international efforts to combat terror within a holistic approach, with the King warning against Islamophobia in the Western community, which, he said, can be used by terrorists as an excuse to carry on with their acts.

During a luncheon in Honour of Their Majesty King Abdullah and Queen Rania, the King delivered a speech in which he went over several issues of shared concern, including global security, the climate change and the refugee crisis.

Hosting 1.3 million Syrian refugees, the King said, Jordan needs creative solutions to give young people the tools and opportunities they require to build secure futures, and also help refugees, especially youth, prepare for the return home with the skills and civic values needed to rebuild their countries.

“We welcome Dutch trade, investment, and innovation, particularly in areas like alternative energy, ICT, education and the environment. These are priorities for us, not only because they have major potential, but because they contribute to strength across our economy,” the King said.

One especially important focus, he said, is the food-water-energy nexus. 

“Jordan is the second water-poorest country in the world. And indeed, the water situation in our two countries could not be more different. But I say that no two countries better understand the profound impact of water management on humanity’s future. So I think there are some very fruitful areas for our combined knowledge.”

On security cooperation, the King said he has “strongly advocated a holistic, comprehensive approach, one that addresses the threat, while also fighting the war of ideas through inclusion and moderation, giving all people — especially young people — a stake in a future of peace and mutual respect. These are values the Dutch have championed for so long”.

He concluded: “I’ve outlined only a few areas of mutual interest. There are many more opportunities to fulfill the goals that Jordan and the Netherlands share. I welcome your ideas, and I look forward to expanding our partnerships, in creative new ways, in the days ahead.”

For his part, Prime Minister Rutte delivered a speech, welcoming Their Majesties.

Citing His Majesty’s speech when he received the Peace of Westphalia Prize a few years ago, Rutte praised the King’s role in spreading the values of understanding and tolerance, as well as fighting terrorism.

The premier expressed his country’s understanding of the social, security and economic burdens that Jordan has been shouldering as a result of the regional turmoil.

“We are keenly aware that the influx into Jordan of more than a million Syrian refugees has put an immense strain on the economy and on public services like water, sewage, electricity, healthcare and education”, said Rutte.

“I want to express our deepest respect to the Hashemite Kingdom and its people for taking up this Herculean task,” he added.

Also on Wednesday, King Abdullah met with Dutch Senate President Ankie Broekers-Knol and Speaker of the House of Representatives Khadija Arib, a Royal Court statement said.

During the meeting, His Majesty and the leading lawmakers discussed bilateral ties and the latest regional and international developments.

His Majesty expressed appreciation of The Netherlands for giving Jordan priority in the Dutch development cooperation policy to help it overcome challenges ensuing from regional crises.

The King stressed the importance of continued coordination between the two countries on issues of mutual interest and ways to boost cooperation, especially in the legislative, economic and technological fields.

For her part, Broekers-Knol stressed the importance of His Majesty’s visit to the Netherlands, commending Jordan’s approach to the challenges it is facing and ability to maintain its resilience.

Jordan enjoys a high degree of international respect for its key role in efforts to restore regional stability and helping the refugees, the legislator said.

She stressed that the strategic partnership between Jordan and The Netherlands is improving and they are standing together in the fight against terrorism and exerting efforts to bring about peace and prosperity in the region and the world.

The meeting covered the agreement to simplify the rules of origin for Jordanian exports to the EU and enhancing investment in Jordan, especially for companies that aspire to export their products to EU markets.

Talks also covered Middle East crises and efforts to work out political solutions, in addition to the international anti-terror fight within a holistic approach.

On the Palestinian issue, King Abdullah stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to resume the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis on the basis of the two-state solution, the international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

His Majesty and the MP’s reviewed the important role of the UNRWA and the need to support it to continue providing its educational, health and relief services.

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