You are here

Jordan, France keen on stronger strategic partnership

By JT - Jun 20,2017 - Last updated at Jun 20,2017

His Majesty King Abdullah and French President Emmanuel Macron meet in Paris on Monday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday held talks in Paris that focused on the latest regional and international developments and means to enhance cooperation and partnership between the two countries.

Discussions between His Majesty and Macron, which were held at the Élysée Palace in the presence of Jordanian and French senior officials, highlighted the importance of continuing coordination and consultation between Jordan and France on issues of mutual interest, and expanding cooperation in the economic and military fields.

In joint statements for journalists that followed the bilateral talks, King Abdullah expressed his happiness for visiting France and meeting with President Macron, stressing the "historical" relations between the two countries, according to a Royal Court statement.

His Majesty also congratulated Macron for being elected as president, voicing his willingness to work with the French president on enhancing bilateral relations between Amman and Paris towards achieving peace and security in the region and the entire world.

 

Following are His Majesty’s remarks at the joint press conference:

 

‘Merci Monsieur le Président,

 

I’m truly delighted to be back here in Paris and for the very kind and warm reception extended to me already by you so far and the interesting discussions that we’ve had.

Also, I think it — if you allow me just to express the condolences of myself and, obviously, our delegation and our country, Jordan.

Our relationship with your military and your other institutions has been strong and historic, so, in a small way, if I could pass on our condolences to those affected and to show the solidarity that we will always have between our two countries, with a special partnership that we’ve had historically, but I think even more so now as we look at our future challenges, both militarily, politically in our region, so we will always stand by you; Jordan will be always your friend and your ally, and we will always stand together with France.

Obviously, we are keen to develop the strategic partnership, as the president and I have discussed, on all levels. This is not going to be difficult for Jordan and France, because we’ve had excellent relations historically, but there are certain areas where we need to expand our relationship and our goals.

The shared global challenges of today are a collective responsibility for all of us, and the best way to overcome them is through joint action, which we will be discussing as we proceed with these meetings today.

All the challenges that are affecting us—whether it’s the economic challenges or threats of extremism and terrorism—is something that has to bring us together in a focused strategic view, not only for our region, but for the rest of the world.

While these issues are not exclusive to my region, as I mentioned, the absence of inclusive political solutions to regional conflict means sectarian violence and the terrorist threat will continue to fester.

Europe has, obviously, an important role to play—not only in our region, but also, I think, here within the boundaries of Europe, and this is why we put so much attention to the special relationship we have with France.

The challenge that we have is, obviously, rejecting hate speech and Islamophobia. This is key to stopping extremist forces, who like to exploit fear, from achieving their goals.

Our collective efforts should be focused on the common interests and benefits and the potential of a regional solution, and looking at all the crises in our region in a holistic approach.

It is also vital, as you mentioned sir, that in this context, that we achieve progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and hopefully arrive at a just and lasting solution, based on the two-state solution.

Looking ahead, obviously, the regional turmoil and the impact of the humanitarian refugee crisis is something that is challenging Jordan very strongly. We’ve embarked on our own path to address the resulting social, economic pressures, but in the end, we do look forward to the support of the international community in that.

But, as you mentioned sir, France is the largest investor in our country; something that we have taken historically in tremendous strength, and there are many opportunities, as you have mentioned, for our private sectors to grow together. Over $2 billion has been spent on investments, as you mentioned—energy, telecom and construction sectors.

This is an opportunity, I hope this year, where we’ll be able to invite the French industries to explore stronger partnerships with Jordan.

But at the end of the day, it is our political relationship, and how we tackle the challenges inside of the Islamic world and in our region in partnership, which will take us forward.

I look forward to the continued discussions tonight, your excellency, and, again, thank you very much for the warm hospitality that we’re always shown here, not only by you, sir, but by the government of France and the people of France.

 

Thank you very much.’

 

For his part, Macron said that Jordan and France are bound by deep-rooted friendship and cooperation, recalling his visit to French troops stationed in Jordan as part of the international anti-terror coalition when he was a presidential candidate. 

He said talks with the King covered all issues of mutual concern, including bilateral ties and regional issues, noting that the two countries share one vision on the challenges currently facing the Near East and the need for strategic dialogue over such issues.

Outlining the topics the two leaders discussed, Macron highlighted the fight against terrorism and extremism. He praised Jordan for its resilience and ability to remain intact under a very difficult regional situation, commending Jordan’s contribution to the anti-Daesh efforts. 

He also noted Jordan’s pivotal regional role as a neighbour of Syria and host of a large number of refugees. He voiced Paris’ solidarity of Jordan as it seeks to keep the southern part of Syria across the border stable and calm, vowing to deploy its diplomacy and political tools to restore stability to the area and ensure an inclusive solution to the crisis.

He said France is intensively engaged in the region through its active diplomacy and dialogue with key players, including Russia, Iran and Turkey.

On the other hand, he said, the French Development Agency is helping Jordan shoulder the burden of hosting refugees.

On the Middle East conflict, he said France and Jordan are worried about the escalating violence on the ground and are determined to preserve the status quo of the holy city of Jerusalem. They agreed, he added, that efforts should continue to create an environment conducive to relaunching the peace process.

At the bilateral level, he underlined his country’s status as the largest foreign investor in the Kingdom, hoping that French companies would increase their engagement in Jordan’s investment landscape, pinpointing the Red-Dead water and environmental project, a plan strongly supported by Paris.  

According to the Royal Court, discussions addressed the latest regional developments in the Middle East, mainly the peace process and the Syrian crisis, where King Abdullah and Macron stressed the need to support efforts seeking peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis, based on the two-state solution.

They also reiterated the importance of reaching political solutions to regional crises, which are hoped to restore security and stability for the region’s peoples.

Both leaders went over regional and international efforts in the war against terrorism within a holistic strategy, especially that terrorism threatens world peace and security.

Talks focused on the burdens Jordan is shouldering as a result of the Syrian refugee influx and its pressure on the Kingdom’s economy, where both leaders stressed the significance for donors to honour their pledges to Jordan and other host countries.

King Abdullah, in this regard, expressed his appreciation for the French economic assistance to help Jordan deal with the repercussions of the Syrian refugee influx, and to help the Kingdom implement development programmes in vital sectors. 

The King called for increasing the French and European investments in Jordan to benefit from the relaxation of the rules of origin agreement between the Kingdom and the EU.

On the Syrian crisis, His Majesty and Macron agreed on the importance of reaching a political solution to the crisis in a way that guarantees the unity of Syria and the security of its people.

For his part, Macron stressed his country’s readiness to play any role that can help the Kingdom and its private sector and open the market for Jordanian products, expressing Paris’ support to Amman’s economic reforms.

The French president held an official banquet in honour of His Majesty and the accompanying delegates, and was attended by both countries’ senior officials. 

 

HRH Prince Feisal was sworn in as Regent. 

up
47 users have voted.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
3 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Opinion

Newsletter

Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.