AMMONNEWS - Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Emad Fakhoury called on the international community to provide more support to Jordan to help it deal with the repercussions of the Syrian crisis and implement the commitments that that has been pledged to host about 1.3 million Syrians.
The remarks came during Fakhoury's meetings with officials from the EU, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands and the World Bank at the Brussels conference held on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the future of Syria and the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Syria's neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees.
The minister met with EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and EU Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Han, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Staillianides, and Director of Southern Neighborhood of the Directorate General of Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission Michael Koehler, and the Ambassador of the European Union in Amman Andrea Matteo Fontana.
Fakhoury called on the European side to provide more financial assistance at the macro level to support the budget, as well as grants and soft loans, and to provide additional support to the World Bank's concessional financing facility to enable Jordan to obtain easy funding to support the budget and to finance priority development projects. As well as additional grants to support the Jordan Response Plan 2017-2019, especially capital expenditure projects in refugee hosting communities.
He also called for intensifying efforts to enable Jordan to benefit from the simplification of rules of origin agreement and to focus during the current year on the success stories in reaching the European market.
Al-Fakhouri briefed the European side on the system of quick win projects which identified the possibility of exporting for 80 Jordanian factories. Six factories out of 21 factories are currently being targeted as a first stage to enable their products in areas covered by the decision to simplify the rules of origin to reach the European market.
The two sides discussed the plans of providing technical support to all these factories by the European Union's assistance programs to Jordan in the next phase, where the agreement was signed in January this year.
During the meetings, Fakhoury expressed the depth of the strategic relationship with the EU, which culminated in reaching a document of priorities for the partnership, and the Jordan-EU Compact for the period 2016-2018 to enhance and deepen the partnership relations between the two sides, especially in regard of the European understanding of the current challenges facing Jordan, including the consequences of hosting Syrian refugees.
According to the minister, Jordan is the first among the partnership and neighborhood countries with the EU to reach a document of priorities for the partnership and the Jordan Compact for the period 2016-2018, which reflects the common objectives of the European neighborhood policy towards a common area of peace, prosperity and stability.
Fakhoury commended the assistance provided by the Union to Jordan, including the additional assistance provided by the European side to enable Jordan to shoulder the consequences of hosting the Syrian refugees and meeting the needs of the host communities in accordance with the Jordan Response Plan (JRP), describing the EU as an important partner of Jordan and the main donor to the reform and development process in the Kingdom.
He said "thanks to the support of the EU and member states, Jordan has been able to obtain additional funding, such as grants from the EU Credit Fund to respond to the repercussions of the Syrian crisis." In his meeting with Japanese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Kontaro Sonora, the Minister of Planning stressed Japan's importance as a partner of Jordan. He expressed Jordan's appreciation for Japan's continued support to the Kingdom and Japan's understanding of the challenges facing the Kingdom, especially the burden of Syrian refugees.
Fakhoury briefed the Japanese minister on the progress of the Jordan Compact and the implementation of the commitments made at the London Conference in February 2016. He thanked Japan for supporting Jordan through the World Bank-financed concessional financing facility for the emergency health project.
The Japanese side called for more support for the facility, which would mobilize more funding for Jordan to narrow the gap in funding needs.
Fakhoury praised Japan's support for the Peace and Prosperity Initiative and Japan provided equipment of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal project.