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    31-Aug-2017

Reopening of Turaibil a symbol of ‘victory over terrorism’

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — In a joint effort of the Jordanian and Iraqi governments to strengthen their bilateral relations in various fields, officials on Wednesday hailed the reopening of the Turaibil border crossing, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
 
The crossing has been closed for over two years, as a result of the ongoing security developments on the Iraqi side of the border.
 
Prime Minister Hani Mulki said that the reopening of the Turaibil crossing is the result of the continued cooperation between Jordan and Iraq and of their common will to cement the brotherly ties between the two countries.
 
He commended the Iraqi army for defeating the Daesh terror group in Anbar, Mosul and Tal Afar, which, he said, allowed the reopening of the vital crossing.
 
The prime minister expressed his hope that the reopening of the border would be an opportunity to promote bilateral trade and investment. He called on the private sector in both countries to cooperate and benefit from this positive step.
 
He expressed hope that the Iraqis will be able to maintain the security of the international road after their victories in the fight against terrorism for the security and stability of Iraq.
 
Mulki stressed Jordan’s constant support for Iraq in its fight against terrorism and in its efforts to restore security and stability in its territory. 
 
He expressed pride in the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army, which safeguards Jordan from external and internal threats, as well as from the “evils of terrorism”.
 
Mulki expressed his appreciation to Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi, the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people for the efforts exerted to reopen the border. 
 
In his speech during the ceremony held for the occasion, Interior Minister Ghaleb Zu’bi conveyed the greetings of His Majesty King Abdullah to the Iraqi leadership and people and His Majesty’s wishes for further progress, prosperity and well-being of the Iraqi people. 
 
In the presence of Jordanian and Iraqi officials, Zu’bi commended the Iraqi army’s victories over the “Daesh gangs of murderers, criminals and terrorists” and voiced his hope that “prosperity and progress will prevail in every inch of Iraq’s beloved land.”
 
He stressed that “the reopening of this vital crossing is an expression of the will to counter and defeat terrorism, which is also an expression of our determination and common desire to bring life back to Iraq”.
 
Iraqi Interior Minister Qassem Al Araji said:”We, in Jordan and Iraq, are one people in one nation, in the same boat and we share the same message and common goals.” 
 
“Blind terrorism wanted to spread the culture of death and murder, but we wanted to spread the culture of life and hope,” he said, adding that “terrorism wanted to close the border between Jordan and Iraq, but Iraq, the will of its people, and the position of its brothers in Jordan, wanted this crossing to reopen and life will continue through it.”
 
Araji praised the position of His Majesty King Abdullah, the Jordanian government and its people in supporting Iraq in its war against terrorism, leading to its defeat and the uprooting of its sources. 
 
Araji conveyed the greetings of Abadi, the government, the parliament and the Iraqi people to the leadership, government and people of Jordan for their support of Iraq and its people.
 
The ceremony was attended by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat, Transport Minister Jamil Mujahed, Public Security Department Director Maj. Gen. Ahmed Sarhan Faqih, Director General of the Gendarmerie Department Brig. Gen. Hussein Hawatmeh, Director General of the Customs Department Waddah Al Hmoud, and Governor of Mafraq Ahmed Zu’bi.
 
On the Iraqi side, the ceremony was attended by Iraqi Defence Minister Erfan Al Hiyali and Iraqi Ambassador to Amman, Safia Al Suhail.
 
Head of the Association of Jordanian Businessmen, Hamdi Al Tabaa, praised the government’s efforts to reopen the crossing, stressing that it will have a direct impact on the various economic sectors.
 
Tabaa said in a statement that the reopening of the crossing would contribute to reducing the recession in the Jordanian economy which resulted from the unstable political and security situation in the region, pointing out that the Iraqi market is a major destination for the export of Jordanian goods and services.
 
He pointed out that the association presented a working paper outlining the vision of Jordanian businessmen on the strategy of joint investments with Iraq. He said they are planning to hold continuous meetings with the Iraqi ambassador to the Kingdom and to organise joint Jordanian-Iraqi Business Council meetings to “expand the horizon of joint investments”.
 
The trade exchange between Jordan and Iraq through land crossings has stopped completely since the summer of 2015, dropping from JD915 million in 2014 to JD533 million and JD353 million during the years 2015 and 2016, respectively, according to Petra.
 
Turaibil is one of the most strategic land crossings for Jordan as it reduces the cost of operating for trucks and transportation flows by allowing a direct flow of goods between Jordan and Iraq.
 
The head of the Jordan Exporters Association, Omar Abu Washah, confirmed that the reopening of the crossing will “restore life” to the two countries’ trade relations in terms of Jordanian industrial goods and products, and praised the efforts exerted by the government in this regard.
 
“The opening of the Tureibil crossing will mark a major shift in the level of bilateral economic relations and will facilitate the movement of people and goods in both directions,” Abu Washah said in a press release on Wednesday.
 
He pointed out that Jordanian exports to Iraq have decreased since the closure of the crossing, noting that Jordanian exports to the Iraqi market accounted for about 20 per cent of the total exports of the Kingdom before the closure of the border.
 
Iraq is considered one of the most important trading partners for Jordan, he said, adding that the country is a priority market for many Jordanian traders, importers and industrialists who prefer it to other Arab and international markets.
 
He stressed the need for a swift visit of a Jordanian industrial delegation to Iraq from the public and private sectors in order to consolidate the presence of Jordanian industry in the Iraqi market and maintain its share, which has fallen since the closure of the crossing two years ago.
 
“The national industry, with its quality and high competitiveness, is able to regain its presence in the Iraqi market because consumers there know its products, in addition to the presence of Iraqi investors who have been working in the Jordanian industrial sector for many years,” Abu Washah affirmed.  
 
Chairman of the Al Rakhaa Association for businessmen, Fahed Tawileh, stressed that the crossing is vital for the national economy, and praised the efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah, the government and various official bodies, which contributed to reopening of the crossing.
 
In a press statement on Wednesday, he said that the reopening of the crossing will constitute a “new and strong push” for the Jordanian economy, which will enable the owners of factories to operate the production lines at full capacity, positively affecting employment rates and contributing to reducing the unemployment problem.
 
He pointed out that Iraq and Jordan have common strategic interests, and the reopening of the crossing will enhance the strategic relations between the two countries and will positively affect their economies.
 
For his part, Chairman of the Jordan Chamber of Industry Adnan Abul Ragheb praised the efforts exerted by His Majesty that resulted in the reopening of the crossing.
 
He pointed out that the industrial sector will participate in the Baghdad International Fair, scheduled to be held before the end of this year in a bid to strengthen the presence of national industry in the Iraqi market.
 

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