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Spanish ambassador highlights 'extraordinary' ties with Jordan

By Khetam Malkawi - Mar 18,2014 - Last updated at Mar 18,2014

AMMAN — Relations between Spain and this part of the region are distinguished, but ties with Jordan are "extraordinary" on all levels with room for further development, Spanish Ambassador to Jordan Santiago Cabanas Ansorena said.

“On the political side the relations are very extraordinary; our positions on world issues are very similar, whether it is on Syria, the peace process or the Mediterranean or the stability issue,” Cabanas Ansorena said at a round-table discussion hosted by Al Rai Centre for Studies on Monday.

The ambassador noted that Spain has been at the forefront of supporting Jordan in its relations with the EU and with NATO.

Speaking at the discussion, titled “Jordanian-Spanish ties: new horizons of cooperation”, he added that Jordan and Spain have been working together at the Union for the Mediterranean.

“I have to say that we thank Jordan, now [that] it has the presidency of Union for the Mediterranean, for understanding our positions on specific issues, and some of them are delicate, like the energy issue.”

The envoy also noted that his country supported Jordan in its bid for a seat at the UN Security Council and would like to have the Kingdom’s support in an upcoming vote slated for October this year.

“We are trying to get into the Security Council… Our vote will be more contested; we are fighting for the only two positions in our group and three countries are trying to get in there, so it will be a difficult vote and we hope to count on the support of Jordan for that position against New Zealand and Turkey,” the envoy said.  

“We hope, at least for one year — 2015-2016 — we will coincide with Jordan in the Security Council, and we think this will be so good because we will have similar positions on very common issues.”

Being balanced regarding Middle East issues is another reason that makes Spain “liked” in Jordan according to the ambassador. 

"We’ve been always supportive, and I think this is something acknowledged in the Arab world, specifically in Jordan.”

Last year, Spain allocated 6 million euros for humanitarian assistance related to the Syrian crisis, of which 2 million euros were directed through international organisations to Jordan. In addition, Spain supports host communities through NGOs with 1 million euros a year.

“I am very confident that we are going to be able to strengthen our relations in the years to come” the envoy added, noting that despite the financial difficulties, Madrid is building a new embassy in Amman that is “going to be our largest embassy in the Middle East. It will be opened hopefully in summer.”


Economic crisis 


During the 90-minute discussion, Cabanas Ansorena also briefed participating economists and representatives of the tourism and investment sectors on the economic crisis in his country and the plans implemented to get its economy back on track.

“The crisis from 2008 onwards hit us hard in Spain,” he said.

“But we are on the right track.”

In addition to popular support, the plans implemented by the government and the help of the EU, Spain also managed to recover because of its “very solid social industrial economic base”.

“We are still the fourth economy in the eurozone, the fifth economy in the European Union, the 13th largest economy by GDP [gross domestic product] in the world, the 11th largest investor in the world, [and] the first or second largest investor in Latin America together with the United States,” Cabanas Ansorena explained.

“We have reduced our deficit, our debt and… gained [the] confidence of markets in Spain.” 

In addition to economic reform, the European country has achieved other reforms, including in the education, technology and transport sectors.

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