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Jordan, Czech Republic set to boost ties at all levels

By JT - Feb 11,2015 - Last updated at Feb 11,2015

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and Czech President Milos Zeman on Wednesday exchanged views on the latest regional developments and means to enhance ties politically and economically. 

At a meeting attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania and the Czech president's spouse, the King welcomed Zeman to Jordan in his first visit as president, a Royal Court statement said.

Speaking at an expanded meeting held later, His Majesty commended the deep ties shared by Jordan and the Czech Republic.

"We have — as I said — a long and strong historical relationship built by His Majesty the late [King Hussein] … I know it's been a while since I’ve been to your country and I greatly appreciate the very kind invitation to visit your country again, and I hope we can do that soon," he said.

"Your presence here signifies the strong relationship between our two nations and our two peoples. Again, Your Excellency, your warm condolences on the loss of our pilot is something that has touched me and will touch all Jordanians, and I appreciate the warmth of your words in that respect," King Abdullah added.

“Our meeting today, with the [Jordanian-Czech] business forum yesterday, [and] the [memoranda] of understanding that were signed — again — are the steps that can only bring our nations together. 

“Many of us — I know — see the tremendous challenges that our nation and our region faces, but the relationship we have with your country, with Europe, I believe united we will be able to overcome these challenges,” the King said. 

“This is why, as we have both talked, we are all facing a global challenge against extremist organisations, but together — Muslims, Christians, members of all faiths coming together, standing united — we will be able to overcome. So this is a challenge that brings all of us together,” he added.

“… As I said to you in our private discussions, this is a challenge inside of Islam; this is a challenge that Islam needs to be able to combat, and then our friends can all come in together and be able to support us… it is a duty for all of us to stand behind our faith, which has been hijacked by extremists,” the King stressed.

His Majesty noted that the challenge against extremism extends over several areas.

“…We hope that this struggle is in the short term a military one, in the medium term is a security one, but the long term is the ideological one,” he said. 

“… We need to find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli problem because this is one of the issues that obviously extremists use as a rallying cry, and so it’s very important for all of us in the international community to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together to solve this problem, because this is an area of contention and instability that makes the ideological struggle so much more difficult.”

The King also reiterated Jordan’s commitment to supporting a political solution in Syria.

“You and I talked briefly about Syria. We all believe in a political solution for Syria as quickly as possible. And again it shows the depth and understanding that your country has to a very complicated region and the challenges that we see... We are working all together at regional stability and you — I believe — have an understanding [of] what it needs to take to move us forward.”

“On the bilateral side, I look to your visit as strengthening our countries. Politically, as I said, we have no problem, but there are many issues today that I believe will strengthen us economically. There’s a lot of things that I think our two peoples bring together that will strengthen a new chapter of relations, economically and socially between our two peoples,” he said.

Also speaking at the meeting, Zeman, who left home later in the evening, expressed his condolences over the death of air force pilot Muath Kasasbeh, who was purportedly burned to death by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in January.

He said the incident is proof of IS’ barbarity, despite their claims to be “Islamic”.

Jordan behaved responsibly as a country capable of retaliating, and this is why, Zeman said, he presented the Czech Republic’s most prestigious medal — the Order of the White Lion — to King Abdullah in appreciation of his courage and strong leadership.

The complicated circumstances and the presence of enemies, problems and conflicts require courage, especially in an unstable region like the Middle East, he added, commending the King’s courageous policies, which are a continuation of King Hussein’s policies.

Solidarity should not only be confined to words, Zeman said, calling for more tangible actions such as bilateral cooperation.

He cited the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding, noting that work is under way to develop tourist exchanges between the two countries.

The president renewed his invitation to King Abdullah to visit Prague, suggesting that the visit coincide with the opening of a Jordanian embassy in the Czech capital, which will be an occasion to show “true friendship” — rather than mere diplomatic relations — between Jordan and the Czech Republic. 

During the meeting, His Majesty expressed hopes that the Czech president’s visit to Jordan would bolster bilateral ties between the two countries in the economic, health, tourism and defence fields.

The King also called for widening the scope of cooperation and the strategic partnership between the two countries through finding opportunities for further joint ventures.

Talks between the two leaders also tackled the latest regional developments and the terror-eradicating efforts during which His Majesty called for more international support to the radicalism-combating campaign on terrorist gangs that seek to destabilise the region and the world.

Concerning the peace efforts, His Majesty reiterated the centrality of the Palestinian question in Jordanian foreign policy, re-emphasising that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies at the heart of the region’s struggle. 

On the Syrian crisis, the King reiterated Jordan’s unaltered stance which advocates a comprehensive political solution to the ongoing war there that can end the suffering of the Syrian people and safeguard the territorial unity of their war-torn country.

For his part, the Czech president expressed his happiness in visiting Jordan and meeting with King Abdullah, stressing his country’s keenness to develop bilateral relations with the Kingdom, which, he said, sets a model as a peacemaker in the region.

Zeman also expressed the Czech Republic’s willingness to expand investment and economic relations with Jordan, stressing the importance for both countries to benefit from their expertise and capabilities in all fields.

He also praised the Jordanian role as a key and important player in the region and the world, referring to His Majesty’s endeavours to achieve world peace and security that contributed to the progress of the Kingdom. 

The Monarch presented Zeman with Al Hussein Bin Ali Medal on the occasion of his first visit to the Kingdom.

Jordan’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic Hussam Husseini said that Zeman’s visit to the Kingdom, heading a high-profile economic delegation, reflects the Czech Republic’s appreciation of Jordan in his first visit to an Arab country. 

Husseini also noted that the Czech Republic is interested in developing economic relations with the Kingdom, especially that Zeman was accompanied by 40 businessmen and representatives of several Czech companies. 

Czech Ambassador to Jordan Petr Hladík said that the visit also focused on economic relations as well, especially in the meetings of the Jordanian-Czech Business Forum that included signing many memoranda of understanding, mainly in the energy and nuclear energy research fields.

Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour held talks with Zeman which focused on strengthening Jordanian-Czech ties. The talks also addressed regional developments, especially the war against terrorism.

Ensour highlighted the various challenges facing the region in relation to the Palestinian question, the crisis in Syria and the danger of IS, stressing the importance of backing the efforts exerted to confront terrorism. 

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