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Jordan, Philippines ‘start new era’ of cooperation

Two sides sign agreements in various fields

By JT - Sep 06,2018 - Last updated at Sep 06,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hold talks in Amman on Thursday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday held talks that focused on means to enhance bilateral relations and the latest regional developments.

Discussions, attended by HRH Prince Ali and senior officials from both countries, highlighted the importance of developing ties in the economic, investment, tourist, energy, mining and military fields, according to a Royal Court statement.

The talks, held at Al Husseiniya Palace, also called for boosting coordination and consultation on issues of mutual interest. 

His Majesty reviewed investment opportunities and incentives provided by the Jordanian economy in several fields, and opportunities to benefit from the Kingdom’s location as a gateway to international markets, especially the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the free trade agreements with many countries.

At the beginning of the expanded talks, which continued over a dinner banquet, the King welcomed Duterte and the accompanying delegates.

“If you’ll allow me on behalf of myself, my family, the government of Jordan and the people of Jordan to welcome you to Jordan on this historical occasion… as the first president of the great nation of the Philippines [to visit Jordan]… we are delighted to have you and your esteemed colleagues here,” His Majesty said.

King Abdullah added: “I am confident that your presence here will really give us momentum into the future in so many fields, and I believe that this is a new era of cooperation.”

“Earlier today, this was translated through agreements that were signed to advance our relations between government bodies, but also the people-to-people aspect,” the King noted.

“I am really delighted that there are also members of the business delegation here in Jordan… and I hope that this is an opportunity for me, then, to be able to come back to visit your country, not only with our government officials, but to bring also the Jordanian private sector to look at the tremendous opportunities that your country has to offer.”

“Sir, I think one of the main things that bind us together is the scourge of terrorism, which is a challenge for our region and your region, for your country and my country,” King Abdullah said.

“Over the past… year or two, the cooperation between our two countries to fight the evil that you have to suffer in your country as we suffer in ours, I think, is a testament to the international cooperation and coordination that is now becoming much more apparent” 

He added: “This is an issue that is going to last with us not only to the next five to 10, 15 years—hopefully, the military aspect… will be very quick—but it’s going to take us a while to overcome the prejudices and the mentalities that these very horrible, evil people perpetrate in your region and in mine.”

For his part, the Philippine president expressed his country’s pride in relations with Jordan and keenness to develop them in a way that serves the joint interests of Amman and Manila. 

“First I’d like to thank you and the state of Jordan for inviting me to be here with my members of the Cabinet and officers of the government,” Duterte said, adding that:  “Second, I would also like, most profoundly, to thank the people of Jordan for hosting so many thousands of Filipinos to earn their living.”

“I also thank your kindness [and] benevolence. I have heard they’ve been treated very, very well, and so I am very happy also to hear that,” the president added.

  The Philippine president said: “Our concern against terrorism brings us here… Terrorism is the scourge of mankind today and it will take us a lot more years to stop it. I really do not know how long, but… I hope that it will maybe end, not so much with this generation, but with the next generation for them to live comfortably.”

“I would like to assure you that we have come here to pledge our friendship, our cooperation, to you,” Duterte added.

Discussions went over the current regional developments, especially the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

King Abdullah, in this regard, highlighted the importance of reaching a just, sustainable peace for the Palestinian issue, based on the two-state solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders that lives in peace and security with Israel. 

The two leaders also reviewed efforts in the war against terrorism, where King Abdullah reiterated the significance of intensifying regional and international efforts in the war against terrorism and extremism, within a holistic approach based on the military, security and ideological aspects.

On the sidelines of Duterte’s visit, both countries signed several memoranda of understanding.

One was on political consultation between both countries’ foreign ministries, a second on the defence cooperation between the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and the Philippine ministry of national defence and a third on recruiting domestic workers between the ministries of labour.  

Another memorandum was signed between the Jordan Investment Commission and its Philippine counterpart, and a memo between the Jordan Maritime Authority and the Philippine Maritime Industrial Authority.

Also on Thursday, the King and the Philippine president attended a military drill at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Centre, conducted by a special operations squad. The drill, dubbed Decisive Response, was based on the hypothetical scenario of liberating a border village under the control of a terrorist group. 

King Abdullah and his guest also visited the King Abdullah Development and Design Bureau, where Duterte was acquainted with the latest products of the centre, which is Jordan’s military industries arm. 

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