Thursday 16th of August 2018 |
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Jordan, Canada share commitment to regional peace, better ties


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with whom he discussed bilateral ties and regional developments. 
According to a Royal Court statement, the King and Trudeau held one-on-one meeting, held at the premises of the Canadian Parliament, that was followed by a broad meeting attended by senior officials from both sides.  
At a joint press conference with Trudeau, His Majesty said that the two leaders had just concluded “some very productive meetings, and I look forward to seeing our relationship continue to strengthen while we advance cooperation”.
The King thanked the Canadian prime minister and the government for “the generous assistance you continue to provide to Jordan, as evident of the last or latest support package announced today,” referring to $36.2 million announced by Trudeau during the King’s visit to help support Syrian refugees in Jordan, as well as economic development and the empowerment of women in the Kingdom.
“We are keen on developing our strategic partnerships on all levels, and I encourage the private sectors on both sides to capitalise on our FTA, the first signed by Canada with an Arab country,” His Majesty said, noting that cooperation between the two countries covers a variety of fields — from capacity building in education, to defence and border security capabilities, and even in joint audio-visual productions.
“However, further opportunities abound, and we look to expand our cooperation in promising fields such as ICT, tourism and technical education, as well as increasing direct investments,” His Majesty said. 
In the broader picture, the King said that Jordan and Canada “see eye-to-eye on a multitude of global issues, and we had some very interesting discussions the past 24 hours, as we share a dedication to serving refugees and global peacemaking.”
He noted that Canada “has warmly welcomed Syrian refugees, and we hope that it continues this humanitarian policy to give new homes to Syrians coming from Jordan and elsewhere in the region.
“Canada also continues to support host countries like Jordan, in words as well as deeds. And for that, we are extremely grateful.”
“Furthermore, we both believe in the values of tolerance and dialogue, and the importance of countering extremist ideologies and hate speech.”
On the fight against the global threats of terrorism and extremism, the King said such a war can only be won within a holistic approach that exceeds military and security measures to encompass economic, social and ideological aspects.
Securing peace in the Middle East, by resolving its central issue — the Palestinian issue, will provide a solid ground for resolving other conflicts, and will end extremists’ attempts to use it as a rallying cry, the King stressed.
“Both Canada and Jordan agree on the importance of the resumption of serious and effective talks between Palestinians and Israelis, leading to a viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel.”
Regarding Syria, “we hope that the ceasefire in the southwest will be replicated elsewhere in the country, easing the way to a political solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people, guarantees their country’s territorial integrity, and ends the bloodshed.”
In response to a question on the anti-terror war, the King noted progress made on the ground in Iraq and Syria, but stressed that the terror challenge is not confined to these two countries, as it is inherent in Libya and posed like other groups like Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Shabab in Somalia.
The military approach might be required to fight extremists in the short run, but in the long term, there is the ideological aspect, which needs more time. 
For his part, Trudeau described his talks with the King as “excellent,” covering the joint commitment to regional security and stability, human rights and a more prosperous Middle East.
He said that for the two days of the King’s visit, the two sides discussed trade exchange, development and women’s rights, in addition to shared values that derive the two countries to fight global terrorism and support refugees, underlining in this regard Jordan’s “exceptional” efforts in hosting Syrian refugees and vowing assistance to refugees and local host communities.
In response to a question on the prospects of economic cooperation between the two countries, Trudeau said there is huge potential to deepen ties and provide opportunities for both Jordanians and Canadians. 
Earlier in the day, David Johnston, governor general of Canada, hosted a state luncheon in honour of His Majesty, attended by Mrs Sharon Johnston, and the Canadian Prime Minister.
In his speech at the event, His Majesty outlined commonalities between Jordan and Canada, including their pursuit of peace and response to the refugee crisis, in addition to the shared values of tolerance, compassion, mutual respect, equality and respect for human rights. 
His Majesty congratulated his hosts and the Canadians on the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. 
He said that Canada and Jordan have both played notable roles in global peacekeeping, helping to stabilise and secure areas of crisis, even such areas like South Sudan. 
“It is why both our countries are part of the Global Coalition against ISIS, helping rout out this evil force. And it is why we work together in a coordinated, holistic response to the global terrorist threat. And I also believe it is why we are both concerned to help end the central and most divisive crisis in our region, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with a just and comprehensive settlement based on the two-state solution.”
He noted that Jordan and Canada have also closely cooperated in response to huge refugee crisis in the region, thanking Canada for the “support you have given us in the difficult challenges… and help… not only with the refugee crisis but to also look at the way we develop our initiatives and economic partnerships”. 
The King described Jordan as a “dynamic centre of innovation for the region, and I hope that, truly, our private sectors will capitalise from the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, to create the opportunities not only for ourselves, but for those that are residing in our country”.
In his remarks, Johnston recalled his visit to Jordan having a first-hand look at the Zaatari Refugee Camp, where he learnt about Jordan that despite the challenge of integrating so many refugees, the Kingdom remains “an island of hope for those seeking peace”.
“… I was also pleased to see the fruits of our collaboration in other spheres, how Canada is working with Jordan to deliver education, water, healthcare and more. Good things come from working together in common cause. Good things also come from encouraging stronger people-to-people ties,” the governor general said. 
He added: “Your visit to Canada helps to further encourage this sort of personal connection between Jordan and Canada. We can only become stronger through such interaction. In defence, security, development and trade, as well as arts and culture, we are making great strides, working together.”

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