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Jordan, Canada agree to continue close cooperation

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By J.T. and Petra News Agency

His Majesty King Abdullah and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussed on Wednesday the latest regional and international developments and means to strengthen relations.

At a meeting in Ottawa, discussions also covered economic and development cooperation and ways to build on agreements already signed between the two countries, a Royal Court statement said. 

During bilateral talks followed by a broader meeting, the King highlighted Jordan’s investor-friendly climate, urging Canadian investors to benefit from the opportunities the Kingdom offers.

Calling for a holistic strategy to counter terror and extremism, His Majesty also stressed the need to revive Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Discussions also covered the Syrian crisis and the refugee burden Jordan is carrying, in addition to developments in Iraq, Yemen and Libya, and the need to reach a political solution to these crises.

Harper said his country seeks to expand its ties with Jordan, describing it as a regional model in working towards stability and development.

He also commended the Kingdom’s peace and anti-terrorism efforts.

In press remarks ahead of the talks, the King expressed his condolences to the Canadian premier and people over the death of Senate Speaker Pierre Claude Nolin.

He also stressed the North American country’s major role in supporting Middle East countries in fighting terror and dealing with other challenges, noting that Jordan appreciates Canada’s support in the face of economic challenges and its aid in the refugee crisis.

His Majesty also thanked Harper for paying condolences over the death of Jordanian air force pilot Muath Kasasbeh.

For his part, Harper said Jordan is a partner for Canada in the fight against terror, stressing his country’s commitment to supporting the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts in hosting refugees.

The premier presented the King with a copy of the speech His Majesty the late King Hussein delivered when he visited Canada in 1989.

Earlier on Wednesday, King Abdullah and Canada’s Governor General David Johnston discussed means to boost cooperation and reviewed the current regional and international developments. 

At a meeting at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall, the King expressed Jordan’s commitment to strengthening ties with Canada in various spheres.

The King and Johnston examined ways to boost education cooperation, mainly in the field of technical education and discussed regional developments, and regional and international anti-terror efforts.

Discussions also covered Middle East peace, to be achieved on the basis of the two-state solution. They also addressed ways to deal with the fallout of the Syrian crisis on neighbouring countries, focusing on Jordan’s relief and humanitarian efforts for Syrian refugees. 

In his welcoming address at a state luncheon in honour of King Abdullah and his accompanying delegation, Johnston hailed the long-standing relations between the two countries, established more than 50 years ago.   

“The friendship between our two countries rests upon common interests and values, as well as strong people-to-people ties,” he said.

Over the years, Canada and Jordan have cooperated in so many ways, he added, “on matters such as trade, education and skills development, landmine reduction, peacekeeping operations, the protection of civilians, and security, we have found common ground”.

“I know that innovation is an important part of your vision for Jordan’s future. It’s also a personal interest of mine and one of Canada’s ongoing priorities,” Johnston noted, stressing Canada’s  appreciation of Jordan as a friend and leader in the Middle East.

“Jordan’s commitment to finding peaceful solutions whenever possible is commendable,” he said.

In response, King Abdullah said Jordanian-Canadian relations have been strong since the reign of King Hussein for over 50 years.

Jordan and Canada, His Majesty added, represent a model of coordination, citing Jordanian and Canadian peacekeepers and their joint efforts to maintain world security and stability.

Jordanians and Canadians, the King said, are working closely to combat terrorism and deal with the various regional and global challenges.

King Abdullah expressed his appreciation of Canada’s efforts in helping to resolve regional issues and for supporting Jordan in pursuing its humanitarian mission towards Syrian refugees.

His Majesty also visited Canada’s department of national defence, where he was received by Harper, Defence Minister Jason Kenney and Gen. Thomas Lawson, chief of the defence staff.

Harper and Lawson gave a briefing on the achievements of Canadian forces in maintaining international security and fighting terror.

On the sidelines of His Majesty’s visit, Jordan and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding to activate international development cooperation within the framework of their partnership in the fields of education, vocational training and sustainable development, and also to provide job opportunities and business-supporting services, help with women empowerment and capacity building, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The memo, signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and Canada’s Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie Christian Paradis, seeks to boost and activate the development cooperation programme launched by the two countries in 1987.

Since 2009, Jordan and Canada have been bound to a free trade agreement, which has led to the launch of commercial partnerships and several Canadian investments in the Kingdom in several sectors, mainly mining and insurance, according to Petra.