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Japan extends assistance to Jordan as challenges mount

By JT - Nov 20,2014 - Last updated at Nov 20,2014

AMMAN — Japan has approved a grant to Jordan totalling approximately 2.4 billion yen ($1 is around 118 yen) in assistance, pledging constant support as the Kingdom faces multiple challenges.

The announcement was made following a meeting between His Majesty King Abdullah and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Thursday, according to a Royal Court statement.

The two countries signed an agreement under which Japan will provide Jordan with grant aid for rehabilitation and expansion of water networks in Balqa Governorate (2.238 billion yen), and the non-project grant aid for provision of Japanese SMEs products (200 million yen) in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The agreement was signed by Japan’s Ambassador to Amman Shunichi Sakurai and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ibrahim Saif in the presence of the King and Abe, the statement said.

At a joint press conference following an extended meeting of His Majesty and Abe, the King said: “Jordan is grateful for Japan’s continuous support, particularly as we cope with the unprecedented humanitarian refugee crisis. And we appreciate the announcement of new grant assistance to Jordan, especially for the water sector. And we look forward to renewing the development policy loan for 2015.”

The King also stressed the need for more international cooperation and coordination to address a number of regional issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, terrorism, Syria and Iraq, highlighting Japan’s pivotal role in the international political arena.

Abe voiced appreciation for Jordan’s role in pushing for stability and security in the region, including addressing the issue of the Islamic State terror group, acceptance of Syrian refugees and contributions to peace in the Middle East, according to the statement.

“In our bilateral relationship, a decision was taken to provide in total approximately 2.4 billion yen in grant aid, for which there was a signing ceremony conducted a little earlier. We will continue to strongly support Jordan, which faces difficult challenges… We confirm that we will develop our bilateral relations in a broad range of areas, including peace keeping operations, the economy and culture, among others,” Abe said.

During the meeting, which was attended by HRH Prince Ali and HRH Prince Ghazi, the King’s personal envoy and adviser for religious and cultural affairs, His Majesty stressed the need for continuous international coordination to combat terrorism which, he said, is a “threat to all and has nothing to do with Islam”.

The King also vowed relentless efforts to combat terrorism in coordination with all regional and international stakeholders.

Discussions also tackled efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East on the basis of the two-state solution with the Monarch warning against the impact of Israel’s “provocative” measures in Jerusalem on efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.

On Syria, the King renewed Jordan’s stance which advocates a comprehensive political solution to the ongoing war there, highlighting in this context the resource-limited Kingdom’s increasing burdens resulting from hosting a large number of Syrian refugees.

The King called on the international community to shoulder its responsibility and increase its assistance to help Jordan continue with its humanitarian assistance to refugees.

Abe voiced his country’s keenness on maintaining cooperation and coordination with Jordan, stressing the deep historic ties between the two countries.

The Japanese premier also expressed appreciation for Jordan’s protection and custodianship of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and its efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region, calling for reviving the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks on the basis of the two-state solution, according to the statement. 

Also on Thursday, the King met with head and members of the Jordanian-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee, said another Royal Court statement. 

During the meeting, which was also attended by Prince Ali and Prince Ghazi, the King underlined the “deep” ties Jordan and Japan enjoy, dating back to 1954. 

The King also highlighted the important role Japan plays in supporting the Kingdom’s development plans, stressing the need to continue coordination on issues of mutual concern. He cited achievements realised in Jordan as part of the comprehensive reforms aimed to entrench democracy, transparency and wider public participation in the decision-making process.

His Majesty called for cooperation in areas related to legislation and oversight through exchanging expertise, particularly as Japan is one of the countries which has a pioneering democratic and parliamentary experience at the international level, according to Royal Court.

Regarding efforts to bring about peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis, King Abdullah underlined the need to support all stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive and just peace based on the two-state solution and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative in order to arrive at the establishment of a Palestinian state on Palestinian national soil. 

For their part, members of the committee praised the King’s endeavours for a more stable and safe region, the statement said.

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