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King, French PM discuss support for Jordan, region

By Raed Omari - Oct 11,2015 - Last updated at Oct 11,2015

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Amman on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday received French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and they discussed the ways through which the international community could support Jordan to bear the burden of Syrian refugees, a Royal Court statement said.

The meeting, attended by HRH Prince Feisal and Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, covered French economic support to Jordan and assistance to develop infrastructure in targeted areas, along with means to enhance investment promotion.

His Majesty stressed the importance of reaching a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian crisis that ends the bloodshed and violence and preserves the peace and unity of Syrian territories.

The meeting was attended by Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, King’s Military Adviser and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Gen. Mashal Al Zaben and King’s Office Director Jafar Hassan, along with senior officials and diplomats from both sides. 

Jordan and France on Sunday signed three soft loan agreements to finance infrastructure, water and energy projects in the Kingdom.

The agreements were announced later in the day during a joint press conference between Ensour and Valls, who was in Amman as part of a regional tour.

The first deal, of 150 million euros, will support the government’s water policies, Ensour said.

According to a Planning Ministry statement sent to The Jordan Times last week, the first loan will support the state budget, and is earmarked for projects to improve the water sector in accordance with the economic blueprint “Jordan 2025”. The loan is extended for 17 years with a 4-year grace period.

The second agreement, of 48 million euros, will be used to finance the green energy corridor, Ensour said, adding that the project will be synchronising electricity produced from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, with the grid.

The Planning Ministry said the green energy corridor will allow the National Electric Power Company to connect renewable energy projects, mainly wind and solar, to the national electricity grid. 

Ensour noted that the third soft loan agreement, worth 37.8 million euros, will be allocated to the Wadi Al Arab Water Conveyance project, which will pump drinking water to Irbid Governorate.

The three soft loans will be extended by French Development Agency.

During the conference, Valls commended the advanced Jordanian-French relations, noting that the French investments in the Kingdom amounted to
1.5 billion euros. 

“Solidarity, trust and commitment is the title of Amman-France relation,” he said.

The French premier also said that Jordan’s security and stability is a major priority for his country, expressing appreciation for the resource-limited Kingdom’s assistance to non-stop waves of refugees.

Asked whether there is coordination between France and Russia in Syria, Valls said, “No. We only coordinate with members of the anti-Daesh coalition.”

Stressing the need of a comprehensive political solution to Syria’s war, Valls noted that embattled President Bashar Assad “cannot be in any way part of a solution to the Syrian crisis”.

He added that there are around 1,700 French citizens fighting alongside Daesh in Syria and Iraq, adding that the terrorist organisation has plans to attack France and other European countries.

 

Valls also expressed concerns over the rising violence in Gaza and the West Bank, saying that his country supports the revival of direct peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis that can lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. 

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