The Jordan Times
AMMAN – France on Sunday stressed its commitment to continue supporting the Kingdom at all levels and in the international arena.
At a press conference, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury and French Minister of State for Development and Francophonie Jean-Marie Le Guen underlined their willingness to enhance bilateral cooperation.
Voicing Jordan’s appreciation to France, Fakhoury thanked the French government for its ongoing support to the Kingdom as a strategic partner in the development process, particularly during challenges facing the country due to the Syrian crisis and the influx of refugees.
He noted that the two sides have renewed a three-year memorandum of understanding worth 900 million euros with the French Development Agency (AFD), which was signed last April during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Jordan.
“Under the memo, both sides signed a very soft loan worth 32 million euros to fund a project that improves access to water, water distribution and sewerage systems for refugee host communities in Irbid Governorate,” said Fakhoury.
He added that the second agreement entailed extending 100 million euros in loans to support municipalities.
The two sides are also scheduled to sign an agreement loan of 150 million euros to go directly to the Treasury to support the water sector.
“The first instalment of 75 million euros will be extended before the end of this year and will coincide with another 150 million euro grant from the KfW [German development bank] to be channeled directly to the Treasury,” said the minister, citing other grants and loans to be extended by the French and European partners to implement local and regional development projects.
Fakhoury also commended the AFD for its support to the Red-Dead project, noting that France has presented 5 million euros to conduct feasibility and final studies for the scheme.
He urged French companies, particularly through Proparco, a French development institution, to benefit from the Jordanian model of implementing schemes in partnership between the public and private sectors, especially in areas of priority to Jordan, such as infrastructure, energy, transport, water, urban development and waste management.
Fakhoury noted that discussions with Le Guen covered the latest developments in the region and the discussions between Jordan and the International Monetary Fund.
“Jordan relies on France to continue the momentum started at the London conference to support Jordan and improve its resilience in light of the growing challenges,” said the minister.
The two officials also discussed preparations for the Brussels conference, which will be hosted by the EU in April to discuss the future of Syria and the region.
For his part, Le Guen stressed his country’s commitment to continue its support to the Kingdom, expressing his appreciation for the “unique” way the Kingdom is facing the repercussions of the Syrian crisis.
“France is fully committed to its obligations outlined during the London conference and will even add more support to help Jordan continue its role towards the refugees on behalf of the international community,” he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also met with Le Guen and discussed bilateral ties between Jordan and France in the economic, political, investment, military and security fields.
Discussions also covered the latest regional developments including the Syrian crisis.
The French minister stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum of international aid to support Jordan in shouldering the burden of hosting the Syrian refugees.