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Jordan, Australia seek better trade ties

Jordan, Australia seek better trade ties

Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania receive Australia’s Governor General Quentin Bryce and her husband Michael Bryce upon their arrival in Amman on Sunday (Photo by Yousef Allan)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday voiced Jordan’s appreciation of the international support for the Kingdom in hosting Syrian refugees, reiterating the need to reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

During a meeting with Australia’s Governor General Quentin Bryce, the King commended Australia’s support to Jordan in dealing with the influx of Syrian refugees.

Warning against the ramifications of the Syrian crisis on the region, King Abdullah cited the burden caused by the continuous influx of Syrian refugees to Jordan as a result of the deteriorating situation in Syria, a Royal Court statement said.

During the meeting, held at the Royal offices in Hummar in Amman, His Majesty and Bryce also discussed regional developments and ways to enhance cooperation.

He underlined Jordan’s commitment to developing cooperation with Australia at all levels to best serve the interests of the two countries.

The Monarch also highlighted the available opportunities for economic cooperation with Australia, particularly in investments with the contribution of the private sector.

Concerning the Middle East peace process, he underlined the centrality of the Palestinian issue and the need for the international community to help the Palestinian and the Israeli sides return to direct negotiations.

His Majesty stressed the need for negotiations to address final status issues and lead to the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state that lives side-by-side with Israel.

For her part, Bryce, who invited King Abdullah to visit Australia, commended His Majesty’s efforts to achieve comprehensive reform in Jordan, in addition to his role in bringing peace and stability in the region.

She highlighted her country’s commitment to developing cooperation with the Kingdom, stressing Australia’s support to the two-state solution.

Bryce and her husband Michael Bryce, who arrived in Jordan on Saturday, were received by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania in an official ceremony earlier on Sunday.

In press statements following the meeting, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Jordan’s ties with Australia are distinguished at the political level, but said trade cooperation needs more attention.

He noted that a date for Their Majesties visit to Australia will be set in due time.

Judeh said Australia has donated $16.5 million to Jordan during the visit of Foreign Minister Bob Carr last month to support Syrian refugees.

Bryce visited the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Mafraq, 80km northeast of Amman, and told reporters she appreciates Jordan’s efforts to help the displaced Syrians, along with the UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR) and other organisations.

Later on Sunday, Their Majesties held a dinner banquet in honour of Bryce and the accompanying delegation.

The trade volume between Jordan and Australia stood at around $131 million in 2011 in favour of Australia.

Exports to Australia reached $6.6 million last year, while imports from the country were nearly $125 million.

The Kingdom’s exports to Australia amounted to $4 million during the first six months of this year and imports from the country reached $108 million during the same period.

Also Sunday, King Abdullah discussed peace efforts and developments in the region with a delegation from the Canadian Centre for Israeli and Jewish Affairs, a Royal Court statement said.

He called on the international community to help the Palestinians and the Israelis return to the negotiating table to discuss all final status issues.

His Majesty reiterated that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains the core regional issue, despite the accelerating developments in the Middle East.

The Monarch also reviewed the latest developments in the region, the Syrian crisis and Jordan’s support for efforts to arrive at a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

Members of the delegation expressed appreciation of the King’s continued efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East, the statement said.

The Monarch also met with Commandant General of the Portuguese National Republican Guard Lt. Gen. Luis Perera on Sunday to discuss bilateral ties and issues of mutual concern

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