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    11-Nov-2019

Senate, Lower House hold first sessions; applause echoes for termination of annexes

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — The Senate on Sunday held its first meeting of the fourth ordinary session that His Majesty King Abdullah inaugurated earlier in the day with his Speech from the Throne.
 
Senate President Faisal Fayez congratulated His Majesty and Jordanians for reclaiming full sovereignty over the Baqura and Al Ghamr areas, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 
 
In October 2018, King Abdullah announced the Kingdom’s decision to terminate the annexes to the Baqura and Al Ghamr areas in the Peace Treaty with Israel by the end of their legal term in October 2019.
Under the 1994 Wadi Araba Peace Treaty with Israel, Jordan had to decide this year whether or not to renew an agreement that placed thousands of dunums in Baqura, in the northwestern corner of the Kingdom, and Al Ghamr, south of the Dead Sea, at the disposal of Israeli farmers, but the Kingdom decided to terminate the annexes and return the lands to Jordanian sovereignty.
 
During the meeting, Fayez said that His Majesty’s speech encompassed all local and regional issues and “draws the features of the future with confidence and hope”, in a way that enables the Kingdom to face challenges and continue the development process in various fields.
 
The president also stressed the Upper House’s keenness to engage in full cooperation and continuous coordination with all stakeholders to serve the higher national interests.
 
The Senate elected members of the committee to be tasked with preparing a reply to the Speech from the Throne, including senators Samir Rifai, Kamal Nasser, Nasser Louzi, Haidar Mahmoud and Haifa Najjar. 
 
Senators Hani Mulki and Talal Kofahi took the oath of office before the Chamber, as stipulated in Article 80 of the Constitution.  
 
Also on Sunday, the Lower House held its first meeting of the fourth ordinary session, in which Speaker Atef Tarawneh said that the King’s speech called for committing to an annual course of plans and programmes.
 
Tarawneh also referred to the Baqura and Al Ghamr areas, which were returned to the Kingdom’s full sovereignty, meaning that they will now be subject to Jordanian laws, Petra added. 
 
Meanwhile, MP Nassar Qaisi was elected as the first deputy speaker after lawmaker Ahmad Safadi withdrew from the race in the second round.
 
In the first round, Qaisi received 59 votes and Safadi 47, while Mustafa Yaghi garnered 18 votes, in the election that saw five invalid votes out of 129.
 
MP Ahmad Louzi was elected as the second deputy speaker after receiving 69 votes, while his rival Deputy Kamal Zghoul received 50 ballots in the second round, which saw the participation of 124 lawmakers, including five that were cancelled. 
 
The Lower House did not elect a speaker, as Constitutional amendments in 2016 extended the speakership term for two years instead of one. The terms of other members of the permanent office remain for one year.
 
 

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