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Jordan, Tunisia aim to boost trade exchange ‘to reflect strength of ties’

King receives Tunisian FM, discussions cover cooperation, regional issues

By JT - Sep 09,2019 - Last updated at Sep 09,2019

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui at Al Husseiniya Palace on Monday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday at Al Husseiniya Palace received Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui, who conveyed a message to His Majesty from interim President of Tunisia Mohamed Ennaceur.

King Abdullah asked Jhinaoui to convey his greetings to Ennaceur, wishing him good health and well-being and the Tunisian people further progress and prosperity, a Royal Court statement said.

During the meeting, His Majesty reaffirmed the deep-rooted relations between Jordan and Tunisia, expressing keenness to expand cooperation in various areas, towards the prosperity of the two countries and peoples and in service of Arab and Islamic causes.

Discussions also covered the importance of continued coordination and consultation between the two countries on the latest regional developments and various issues of mutual concern, according to the statement.

Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination Bisher Al Khasawneh, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, and Tunisian Ambassador to Jordan Khaled Shili attended the meeting.

Later in the day, Safadi met separately with Jhinaoui as talks went over the development of bilateral relations and cooperation, as well as coordination with regards to various regional and international issues of mutual interest. 

Safadi and his counterpart also addressed ways to bolster cooperation in the fields of defence, economy and trade, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. 

The ministers noted that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries has yet to reflect the strength of their relations, stressing the importance of eliminating obstacles that hinder the development of cooperation between the two countries’ private sectors. 

They highlighted the importance of continued support for the Jordanian-Tunisian Business Council as means to further the growth of trade exchange in vital sectors that include the pharmaceutical, agriculture, tourism and IT sectors, according to the statement. 

Safadi and Jhinaoui also reviewed regional developments with the Palestinian cause at the forefront, as well as efforts to arrive at resolutions to the Syrian and Libyan crises and international endeavours to combat terrorism. 

In a press conference following talks with his Tunisian counterpart, Safadi noted that their discussions were held on the sidelines of an Arab Foreign Ministers Council meeting scheduled for today in Cairo, chaired by Tunisia as the current leader of the Arab League summit. 

Safadi shed light on the “shared vision” between Jordan and Tunisia in regards to the Palestinian cause, noting that the only solution to the conflict would be the fulfilment of the Palestinian people’s rights, mainly to freedom and an independent state along the June 4, 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, in adherence to international legislation and the Arab Peace Initiative.

“We continue to coordinate on the matter through communication with the international community and we utterly condemn unilateral Israeli measures that seek to tamper with the status quo of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites, which are under the Custodianship of His Majesty King Abdullah who has spared no effort in protecting them,” Safadi said. 

He stressed the need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis that is accepted by Syria’s people, restores the country’s stability and security and provides suitable conditions for the voluntary return of refugees, 1.3 million of whom are hosted by the Kingdom, the statement said.

“Terrorism is a joint challenge and we continue to coordinate in facing its threat, which bears no association to our religion or values and is a danger to us all,” Safadi underlined. 

The top official pointed to Jordan’s strategic location and free-trade agreements with various countries including the US and Canada as an opportunity for partnership between the businesspeople from the two countries. 

The Jordanian-Tunisian Business Council held a meeting earlier this year in Amman, Safadi said, noting that talks went over the prospects of organising sector-based meetings between businesspeople from the two sides to broaden cooperation. 

He lauded Tunisia’s experience with democracy and expressed the Kingdom’s support ahead of upcoming elections in the North African country, the statement said. 

For his part, Jhinaoui explained that Tunisia has strong ties with neighbouring countries, adding that Tunis has enhanced bilateral communication and legal frameworks with various parties in Africa, calling on Jordanian businesspeople to benefit from the various advantages to accessing new markets through Tunisia.

The Tunisian foreign minister called for a ceasefire in Libya, noting that “the fighting cannot continue while we sit idly by”. 

He stressed the necessity of finding a resolution to the conflict in Yemen as well, which would restore its people’s unity and security. 

“The threat of terrorism still stands and threatens Tunisia as we desire to establish a progressive and modern democratic system. These terrorists seek to hinder Tunisia’s success, in that regard, by any means,” Jhinaoui underscored. 

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