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King concludes New Zealand visit

By JT - Nov 30,2016 - Last updated at Nov 30,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah inspects the Guard of Honour during an official visit to New Zealand this week (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday concluded an official visit to New Zealand, where he held talks with Governor General of New Zealand Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister John Key and parliamentary officials.

The Royal visit was described by senior New Zealand officials and media outlets as an important opportunity to boost bilateral relations and to share the Jordanian role in dealing with the Middle East crises, a Royal Court statement said.

The two countries decided to increase cooperation in the fields of alternative energy, agriculture, education, vocational and technical training and filmmaking, in addition to exchanging expertise in the field of civil defence.

During their meeting in the capital Wellington, the King and the governor general stressed the importance of exchanging visits between the private sectors of both countries to detect investment opportunities.

They discussed developments regarding the Syrian crisis and the international efforts to reach a political solution that brings an end to the conflict. In this regard, His Majesty highlighted the mounting burdens ensuing from regional crises on neighbouring countries, especially Jordan, which hosts a large number of refugees.

Talks also focused on the dangers of terrorism on world peace and security and the need to combat it within a holistic strategy. They also urged a resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations to implement the internationally endorsed two-state solution.

For her part, New Zealand’s governor general commended Jordan’s efforts to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East, voicing her country’s interest to boost relations with Jordan.

She commended Jordan’s achievements, especially September’s Lower House elections, held at a time of “extremely complicated regional issues”, and for providing humanitarian and relief services to Syrian refugees.

Reddy held a dinner banquet in honour of His Majesty and the accompanying delegation, during which the King stressed in his remarks the depth of bilateral relations and the interest to boost them in all fields.

During the banquet, His Majesty thanked the New Zealanders for their hospitality, saying: “It is all the more appreciated as your country deals with the aftermath of the recent earthquakes. We truly admire the way your people confront these challenges.”

The King said that Jordan and New Zealand are stable countries that thrive as part of a global system “held together by cooperation, moderation, and tolerance”.

“In the past few years, I’ve been shocked by the number of global opinion makers who still don’t understand Islam — the faith of almost 2 billion peaceful, productive men and women around the world,” His Majesty said, calling for putting away false perceptions.

He added, “Muslims, like Christians and Jews and others, are bound by the deepest Commandments of all: the Love of God and the Love of our Neighbour. Our religion teaches us that all humanity is equal in dignity. These are the values I teach my children — the same values that I was taught, and the same values honoured by Muslims home in Jordan and here in New Zealand and around the world.”

For her part, Reddy welcomed His Majesty’s first official visit, describing it as significant for the friendship between the two countries and a “welcome chance to discuss the issues that affect us both, many of which have global reach”.

She expressed appreciation for His Majesty’s efforts in peace making, war on terrorism, and the response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

The Royal visit also included a meeting with Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key, in which the King and Key discussed economic, trade and defence cooperation.

His Majesty and Key looked into the prospects of Jordan benefiting from New Zealand’s expertise in the fields of agriculture, water saving techniques, renewable energy and vocational training and education through increasing New Zealand scholarships to Jordanian MA students.

For his part, Key commended Jordan’s role in achieving security and stability on regional and international levels, noting that his country views His Majesty’s visit as an important opportunity to boost relations in all fields. 

On Tuesday, His Majesty met with Speaker of the House of Representatives David Carter and they discussed Jordan’s positions on developments in the region.

Carter praised the Kingdom’s continuous efforts to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East. 

 His Majesty met with President of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee MP Mark Mitchell and its members, with whom he discussed boosting cooperation in the field of security and defence as well as the challenges in the region.

He visited the Weta Studios for filmmaking in Wellington.

New Zealander media highlighted the importance of His Majesty’s visit in enhancing economic cooperation, quoting New Zealander senior officials who stressed their country’s keenness on supporting Jordan in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis.

The King arrived in New Zealand from Australia where he paid a several-day state visit. 

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