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FM co-chairs Union for Mediterranean meeting

Safadi meets with peers as EU urges Amman to remain in UfM co-presidency

By JT - Jan 23,2017 - Last updated at Jan 23,2017

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi speaks at a press conference held after a Union for the Mediterranean meeting in Barcelona on Monday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates  Ayman Safadi on Monday co-chaired, along with High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini the second “Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum titled Mediterranean in Action: Youth for Stability and Development”.

Organised by the UfM co-presidency in Barcelona, the two-day meeting was attended by representatives of 43 states, in addition to regional and international NGOs and donors supporting the union’s projects in the South Mediterranean region, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, and a UfM statement said.

The statement said that the UfM member states “gave a strong political commitment today to strengthen regional cooperation in the Mediterranean by endorsing a roadmap for action at the second Regional Forum of the UfM”.

In light of the current pressing challenges of the region linked to extremism, radicalisation and irregular migration participants underlined the key role played by the UfM as a “unique framework for political dialogue and regional cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean area”.

This is the third time Jordan co-presides the UfM, with the first starting in 2012 for two years and renewed for two others, ending in September 2016. During this period, the union held 11 sectoral meetings at the ministerial level and several technical meetings, with focus on energy, business development, transportation, urban development, environment, water, higher education, research, social and civil development. A total of 47 projects have been adopted by the member states in the said span. 

In his opening speech at the meeting, Safadi underlined Jordan’s role in enhancing regional and global peace and stability, and in fighting terrorism and radicalisation, highlighting the burdens shouldered by the Kingdom as a host to Syrian refugees.

Stressing the significant role of youth in a region plagued with conflict, the top diplomat made reference to the international youth conference on peace and security hosted by Jordan last year under the patronage of HRH Crown Prince Hussein, which came “to translate His Highness’ vision for enhancing the role of youth in the region to combat violent extremism and terror”, Petra reported. 

He also underlined the historic UN Security Council Resolution 2250 proposed by Jordan, which, he said, laid the ground works for a new era where young people are engaged as major key partners in peacemaking and fighting radicalisation.  

Safadi urged taking advantage of the King Abdullah Institute for the Training and Rehabilitation of Preachers and Imams, due to the importance of training these religious leaders to convey the right messages to their congregations. 

The EU and several UfM member states urged Jordan to continue in the co-presidency until 2018, Petra reported. 

On the forum’s sidelines, Safadi met with Mogherini, UfM’s Secretary General Fathallah Sijilmassi, and foreign ministers of Malta, Luxemburg, Portugal, Palestine, Spain and Albania.

During the meetings, the foreign minister discussed the Syrian refugee burden and means of supporting the Jordan Response Plan (JRP).

He also urged the EU officials to include all Jordanian factories in the deal between Jordan and the union to simplify the rules of origin for Jordanian products at the EU markets, in addition to helping the Kingdom in luring more investments. 

Safadi, Mogherini, Sijilmassi and Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis, representing the host country, held a press conference in which they announced the adoption of a road map to enhance regional cooperation among Mediterranean countries.

In response to a question on the relations between Jordan and the US’ new administration, Safadi described them as “solid and historic”. He said the Kingdom is keen on cooperating with the new administration to face common challenges and address regional conflicts and crises to bring about peace and stability and sustain economy.

 He said that Jordan would openly speak to the US about the vision to serve common interests such as combating terrorism.

The minister highlighted the importance of solving the Palestinian issue on the basis of the two-state solution and in accordance with the international law and the Arab Peace Initiative, noting that unilateral measures will only diminish the likelihood of any solution.

On the Syrian refugee crisis, Safadi said that the aid the international community has provided is not a favour to Jordan but rather a humanitarian duty to help the refugees.

 

The minister called on investing in the stability by supporting refugees and protecting them from falling victims to despair and extremism, and targets of terror recruitment.       

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