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Jordan, Australia sign ‘Joint Declaration on Enhanced Cooperation’

King holds talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on ties, region

By JT - Nov 25,2016 - Last updated at Nov 25,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah is greeted by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ahead of their talks in Canberra on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday held talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra, stressing the importance of increasing cooperation in economic and trade fields, according to a Royal Court statement.

Discussions at the premises of the Australian parliament focused on ways to boost cooperation and regional developments, especially in regard to the Syrian crisis, and efforts to combat terrorism.

Regarding the Syrian crisis, Turnbull stressed the importance of reaching a political solution and voiced Australia's support for the Kingdom and refugee-hosting countries.

In joint press statements after the talks, His Majesty said: "As you mentioned, Sir, this comes at a very interesting time in history where we celebrate long ties. You mentioned that our country is honouring the centennial of the Great Arab Revolt, where we had the honour and pleasure to see Anzac troops fight alongside Arab forces."

The King also highlighted the importance of the signing of the “Joint Declaration on Enhanced Cooperation” and all the different sectors that it has covered.

He added: “But this also comes at a time of close coordination on an international level at the UN Security Council, where Jordan and Australia co-hosted three resolutions on humanitarian access to Syria.”

The international community must continue to find ways to deal with the Syrian crisis, the King said, adding that Jordan did more than it could, shouldering the burden on behalf of the world.

The Monarch said, “I would truly like to thank you, Sir, and the people of Australia for the contributions and support, for the pledges at the London conference and the resettlement of almost 12,000 refugees, the majority of which will be relocated from Jordan. And this is a tremendous moral responsibility that comes as no surprise to us that know your country and your people.”

“The lack of progress on the peace process after decades of conflict and continued provocations in Jerusalem and its holy sites remains a driver for extremist forces in our region and actually quite beyond,” the King said, highlighting the need to move beyond the process and Jordan’s readiness to assist in any way.

“I am quite sure that as we move into 2017, Australia and Jordan will work hand in hand in being able to deal with these challenges not only in our region but globally,” the King said, concluding that he looks forward to hosting Turnbull, his family and government in Jordan whenever there is a chance.

“It was over 40 years ago of course, in March 1976, Australia had the honour of hosting His Majesty King Hussein, your father and today we are welcoming you,” the Australian premier said.

Turnbull said that Jordan is Australia’s closest partner in the Middle East, voicing appreciation over the strong partnership and friendship, which he described as “ very longstanding – a century old, going back to the Great Arab Revolt when Australian and Arab forces fought alongside each other in the lands that are now your Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”.

“We will seek opportunities to expand our economic ties, we will build on our political partnership by holding regular ministerial meetings and we will continue to strengthen our already very strong security, intelligence and counterterrorism cooperation, and together with the very strong links between our respective defence forces,” he added.

Turnbull said that his country will provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq and Syria and that Canberra is committing $220 million over three years to respond to the Syrian crisis, in addition to the $213 million provided in humanitarian assistance since 2011. 

The prime minister commended the signing of a memorandum of understanding on countering money laundering and terrorism financing and noted that Jordan and Australia “stand together in rejecting those who seek to impose their perverse world views on others through division and violence”.

“As I outlined in my national security statement in November 2015, strengthening our cooperation with Jordan is an important and vital step in helping ensure the development of a more stable and secure Middle East,” Turnbull said.

He concluded that King Abdullah is one of the most reliable partners for Australia in the Middle East. 

“You have been instrumental in deepening our engagement and our cooperation, so we thank you, Your Majesty, for your dedication over many years, for peace, for security and for strengthening the already very strong ties — a century old — between our two great nations.”

The memo on countering money laundering and terrorism financing was signed between Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop.

The declaration was signed by Justice Minister Awad Mashagbeh and Australian Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on counterterrorism Michael Keenan. 

In a joint statement, Jordan and Australia focused on six main strategic cooperation pillars in the fields of politics, economy, combating terrorism, defence,the humanitarian field and border protection. 

In the statement, Australia commended the King’s custodianship of sanctuaries in Jerusalem and the Kingdom’s role in preserving the security and stability of the region. 

The statement focused on cooperation between the two countries and efforts to reach political solutions to the clashes in the region, including the Syrian crisis and especially the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the need to find a two-state solution through immediate negotiations. 

It also focused on efforts to combat terrorism and boosting the defence of both countries through enhancing training and exchanging expertise.

Australia will continue its role as a donor to UNRWA, employing Palestinian refugees in the Near East, contributing also $80 million in a duration of four years as of 2016, according to the statement. 

Also on Thursday, King Abdullah held two separate meetings with Bishop and Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Parliament MP Bill Shorten.

During the two meetings held at the Australian parliament, the King and the officials discussed ways to boost bilateral relations and regional and international developments. 

On the sidelines of the meetings, Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania visited the National Park in Canberra, planted an oak tree and wrote in the guestbook. 

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