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King, Hollande discuss ties, anti-terror efforts

By JT - Apr 20,2016 - Last updated at Apr 20,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah receives French President François Hollande ahead of their talks in Amman on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and French President François Hollande on Tuesday held summit talks over ways to enhance Jordanian-French ties and the ongoing anti-terror war.

The summit, held at Al Husseiniya Palace, also stressed the "deep-rooted" friendship and cooperation ties between both countries, a Royal Court statement said.

The two countries later signed a package of cooperation agreements to boost bilateral cooperation (see separate story).

King Abdullah, during a one-on-one encounter followed by an expanded meeting, welcomed Hollande's visit, which, he said, would take bilateral ties to new levels and boost opportunities of mutual cooperation in a way that further improves strategic relations between Amman and Paris, according to the statement.

The talks also addressed efforts to fight terrorism and the latest developments in the Syrian crisis and other regional issues, in addition to efforts exerted to revive the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, the statement added.

In his welcoming remarks, His Majesty stressed the importance of Hollande's visit to Jordan, saying it "marks another strong step in close bilateral relations between our two countries; our historical relationship, not only politically, but economically as well as on the military and on the security aspects." 

The Monarch added: "We have all had tremendous challenges when it has come to our fight against what I call the khawarej, the outlaws of Islam. We have stood by our friends in France with the tragedies that your country has faced and we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in France."

His Majesty expressed pleasure over Hollande’s visit, saying: “I am really pleased that you are here today so that we will be signing some agreements between our two nations. This is just another example of enhancing our bilateral relations. Again, it is of great warmth to me that when I look at the members of your delegation I see so many friends that are here.”

“This region is going through many tragic challenges,” the King said, adding: “But at each time we see France showing leadership; and one that we always coordinate with Paris on and it shows the warmth and strength of our relationship here.”

For his part, President Hollande underlined the solid Jordanian-French friendship, expressing understanding of the challenges facing Jordan. “The threat is not a virtual one, when it is a real threat at your borders.” 

Hollande added: “We are cooperating at the military level and our cooperation is really exceptional. This afternoon I will visit our air force personnel who contribute to the strikes against Daesh. But they can do this job only because you are here for support and as partners.” 

“I also understand the burden of the refugees on Jordan. You have shown a great solidarity; and there are still refugees coming from Syria, fleeing the fighting around Raqqa or around Palmyra. And you need to give them the support they need but at the same time make sure there are no terrorists have infiltrated in these refugee ranks,” the French president said.

He also expressed appreciation for Jordan’s solidarity with France during Paris terror attacks, saying, “We are also aware, Sir, of how grateful we are for the solidarity you have shown for France when we also had the terror attacks in Paris. On the 11th of January you were with us, with other leaders of the world for the march to show your solidarity with France and its people.”

Hollande also called for finding political solutions to all the region’s crises, saying:”We also need to work to find political solutions. I am coming from Egypt, we talked a lot about Libya; and here in Jordan we are very much aware that what is happening in Geneva is very important and it is very worrying to see that the negotiations have been suspended because this means that the truce will be broken at one moment or another, that the fighting will resume, the air bombings, and the civilians are going to suffer even more. And there will be no hope. Therefore, we also need to find the political solutions and this explains my presence here today.”

On the Jordanian-French economic cooperation, Hollande stressed the importance of encouraging French companies to invest in the Kingdom. “They can help you immensely especially in solving your water woes.”

 

During extended meetings, the two leaders discussed a variety of common issues including the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, the Syrian crisis and the international war on terror, the statement said. 

Agreements signed by Jordan and France

His Majesty King Abdullah and French President François Hollande attended the signing of a number of memoranda of understanding seeking to enhance cooperation in the water, agriculture, judiciary and renewable energy sectors.

•  A MoU between the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the French Development Agency

•  A MoU between the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the French Egis Group to manage the water sector in the northern governorates

•   A supplement to the cooperation protocol the Jordanian and French ministries of justice signed in May 2009

•   A partnership reaffirmation agreement between Orange Jordan, Millennium Energy Industries Company and Catalyst Private Equity (Cleantech)

•  A letter of intent in the agriculture sector

 

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