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Greece is Jordan’s voice in EU, NATO — diplomat

By JT - Mar 26,2015 - Last updated at Mar 26,2015

AMMAN — Greece on Wednesday commended Jordan's commitment to strengthening relations between Christians and Muslims "for the development of a friendly, harmonious and peaceful society".

Speaking at a reception to mark her country's independence day, Greek Ambassador to Jordan Maria Louisa Marinakis said Greece is concerned about the situation of Christian communities in the region.

"Greece also recognises and appreciates the generosity and valuable contribution of Jordan in providing shelter to the people fleeing violence in Syria and in Iraq, acknowledging the heavy impact on the social cohesion of the country as well as upon governmental services and the host communities," the diplomat noted.

Diplomatic relations between Greece and Jordan, established 49 years ago, "have matured and are getting stronger", Marinakis added, commending the Kingdom's efforts "to advance regional security, aiming especially at the resolution of the central cause of the instability that ravages the entire region of West Asia, i.e the Palestinian-Israeli conflict".  

"Again, we share the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and putting an end to violent extremism and terrorism that threatens the entire globe," she noted, commending His Majesty King Abdullah's role as the custodian of Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, "where we attach a great importance to the mission of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate".

Despite "painful structural measures" adopted by Greece to overcome financial woes, the country has offered Jordan 250,000 euros so far in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, the ambassador noted.

"Furthermore, the bilateral developmental aid, offered as grants, has reached the amount of 2,349,313 euros in the past five years," she said.

"In 2014, we signed a new bilateral agreement, that of the exemption from visa requirements for holders of Jordanian diplomatic passports,” a move that was followed by active efforts of the Greek EU Presidency to promote the Mobility Agreement between the EU and Jordan.

"The mobility agreement was finalised and signed last October," Marinakis said. 

The ambassador also highlighted Jordanian-Greek cooperation in tourism, the economy and security fields.

"Aegean Airlines started last June its direct flights from Athens to Amman in a very competitive round-trip price. I am confident that the renewal of the direct flights will bring our peoples closer in all possible fields, especially the youth," she said.

"This year, 29 Jordanians pursue their studies in Greek military schools," the diplomat added.

Noting that both Jordan and Greece are currently under pressure for different reasons, Marinakis said it "during this precise timing that our bilateral relations have been upgraded in all fields". 

"[This] shows political commitment of both sides to continue to work hand-in-hand. Jordan is our voice in the Security Council, in the Arab League. We are Jordan’s voice in the EU and in NATO.

"We strive constantly to keep the attention of our EU partners to the needs and the differentiation of Jordan within the European Southern Neighbourhood, since our security and stability is interdependent to your peace, your security and your stability," the diplomat said.

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