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Jordan-EU Association Council agrees on priorities for next 5 years

DEAD SEA — The 14th session of the Jordan-EU Association Council witnessed the signing and adoption of a document on the priorities in Jordan and the European Union’s partnership for the next five years, according to Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

During a press conference on Thursday throughout the council meeting, Safadi said that Jordan is the first partner country from the EU’s southern neighbours to complete negotiations on the document.

“This partnership is a clear indication of the common concern to move forward to strengthening relations and cooperation in order to resolve regional crises, and achieve security, stability, peace and prosperity in the region,” Safadi said.

According to the minister, the 14th Association Council meeting coincides with 20 years passing since the Association Agreement between Jordan and EU, and with 10 years since the joint presidency of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Safadi said that His Majesty King Abdullah emphasised the depth of the European partnership with the Kingdom and the strengthening of relations in various aspects of economic and environmental development and progress towards peace.

He noted that the meeting discussed several regional issues, particularly the Palestinian cause, stressing the need to intensify work to find a political horizon and launch serious and effective negotiations to resolve the conflict and reach real peace.

Safadi added that Jordan and the EU reiterated the need to stop all illegal and unilateral Israeli practices that violate international law and undermine efforts to achieve peace and the chances of a two-state solution.

“There is no alternative to the two-state solution, as the one-state situation will lead to more conflict,” he said, noting that the escalation in Jerusalem must stop in order to move towards the two-state solution.

The meeting also discussed the situation in Syria, Safadi said, stressing the importance of partnership with the international community to continue providing aid to Syrian refugees.

The minister also stressed the need to stabilise the situation in southern Syria. “The former Russian presence in southern Syria has been a stabilising factor in the south in recent years. Therefore, we are discussing how to maintain stability in the south,” he noted.

“Jordan always supports the efforts of the European Union and there is a common interest in strengthening our relations to create a conflict-free Middle East, as whatever happens in our region affects the EU and vice versa, which calls for continuous cooperation,” Safadi added.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell reaffirmed the EU’s support for Jordan amid the Ukrainian-Russian crisis.

During the press conference, Borrell stressed the EU’s “strong support” for His Majesty’s reform agenda, especially modernising the political system and the political and economic development that was highlighted during his speech on the 76th Independence Day in May.

“Our partnership will help us face the troubles and challenges the world has increasingly faced during the past two years,” he said, noting that the EU and Jordan have signed and adopted new partnership priorities, which will guide their relations and cooperation for the next five years.

The priorities cover cooperation in three main areas: Regional security and stability, economic stability and strengthening good governance, rule of law, democratic reform and human rights, according to Borrell. 

“The EU will also support regional integration, renewable energy development, energy efficiency, and the management of water resources in Jordan, as water scarcity is a source of major concern, which is why we will support the National Water Carrier Project to bring water from the Red Sea to Amman,” Borrell said.

Freedom, human rights and democracy are “the cornerstones of the partnership between the EU and Jordan”, he continued.

The “very negative” repercussions of the Ukrainian-Russian war affects the whole world, especially the Middle East, Borrell said. 

“The global food crisis is due to Putin’s Russian Navy blockade of Ukrainian ports with many ships containing wheat, which used to be exported to Asia and Africa,” he added.

Borrell indicated that Ukraine used to export five million tonnes of wheat per month before the war, however, in May only exported 600,000 tonnes — 10 times less due to the war. 

“Someone will not eat this wheat and therefore suffer from hunger,” he continued.

Borrell affirmed the continuity of the EU’s support for Jordan in facing the consequences of the Syrian crisis. “Jordan has always been an element of stability in the region through hosting refugees for more than a decade now,” he said.

He also emphasised Jordan’s efforts to maintain stability in Jerusalem, especially amid the troubles over the last weeks, especially as the custodian of the holy sites.

“The EU remains committed to the two-state solution, because there is no other solution, with Jerusalem serving as a capital for both states,” he said.

“Our message today is that Jordan can continue counting on the friendship and assistance of the EU, we are strong partners in good times and especially in times of crisis,” Borrell ended.