King holds talks with Dutch prime minister in The Hague | Jordan News | Ammon News

King holds talks with Dutch prime minister in The Hague

[3/21/2018 3:52:37 PM]

AMMONNEWS - His Majesty King Abdullah II discussed with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the Hague on Wednesday, ways to boost Jordanian-Dutch relations in various fields as well as regional developments.

The King and the Dutch prime minister agreed to expand cooperation between the two countries, especially in the fields of trade, renewable energy, agriculture, water management, transport, small and medium enterprises, innovation, telecommunications, information technology and military.

During the bilateral and expanded talks, the King and the Dutch prime minister stressed the importance of the agreements signed by Jordan and the Netherlands during the visit, and the need to build on them to serve the interests of the two countries and the two friendly peoples.

They also agreed to continue coordination and consultations on various regional and international issues.

The talks also dealt with simplifying the rules of origin between Jordan and the European Union and opportunities to build on it to increase Jordanian exports to the European markets, and attract new investments to the Kingdom, in addition to benefiting from Dutch expertise in technical training.

The King expressed appreciation for the support provided by the Netherlands to Jordan to enable it to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis and implement many development programs.

The talks also touched upon the crises facing the Middle East region and the need to intensify efforts to reach political solutions that restore security and stability for the region's peoples.

On developments related to the Palestinian issue, His Majesty the King stressed that reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue is a key to achieving stability in the whole region, pointing out the important role of the EU in pushing the peace process forward.

In this regard, King Abdullah stressed the need to exert more efforts to build confidence in the peace process and to re-launch negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of the two-state solution, the Arab Peace Initiative and international legitimacy, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The talks also dealt with the impact of the Israeli measures, including the construction of settlements, on opportunities to achieve peace, in addition to the challenges facing churches in Jerusalem, and the role of Jordan in protecting Islamic and Christian holy sites in the holy city.

The discussions also dealt with the role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the need for international support to enable it to continue its humanitarian and relief role.

Regional and international efforts on the war on terrorism within a holistic strategy were also reviewed during the talks.

His Majesty warned of Islamophobia in Western societies so that extremists would not use it as a pretext to feed their terrorist agendas.

The meeting was attended by the minister of foreign affairs and expatriates, the King's advisor, the director of the King's Office, the minister of industry, trade and supply and the Jordanian ambassador to the Netherlands.

The talks were also attended on the Dutch side by the foreign, the minister of foreign trade and development cooperation, the minister of agriculture, the minister of Infrastructure and water, the Dutch ambassador to Jordan and ,and commander of the Dutch armed forces.

Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania Al Abdullah attended the official lunch hosted by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in honor of Their Majesties and the accompanying delegation, in the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Queen Maxima.

His Majesty King Abdullah II's speech at the lunch banquet: "In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate, Your Majesties, Prime Minister, Dear friends, Rania and I are truly delighted to be here in the Netherlands again. And, truly, on behalf of all of us, our tremendous thanks for the warm hospitality and the kindness that we’ve been shown since our arrival here.

Mr Prime Minister, over the past few years, you and I have worked together on some truly challenging issues global security, climate change, the refugee crisis.

Our countries cooperate closely in the fight against global terror, and stand together in the international coalition against Daesh, or ISIS.

We are also partners in bilateral and multilateral programmes, private-sector initiatives, and academic exchanges. And Jordan deeply, deeply appreciates being among the new partner countries that are designated a focus of Dutch development cooperation.

As you have recognised, today’s situation demands a new sense of urgency. We in Jordan have 1.3 million Syrian refugees, and they have put a huge burden on our people and economy. Creative solutions are essential to give our young people the tools and opportunities they need to build secure futures, and also help refugees, especially youth, prepare to return home with the skills and civic values needed to rebuild their countries.

This is the heart of Jordan’s world-recognised refugee response plan. In the days ahead, we hope to work closely with you and your government to move forward with sustainable, inclusive development, maximise the use of our scarce resources, and take advantage of Jordan’s abundant strengths, including our talented, aspiring people.

We welcome Dutch trade, investment, and innovation, particularly in areas like alternative energy, ICT, education and the environment. These are priorities for us, not only because they have major potential, but because they contribute to strength across our economy.

One especially important focus is, as you have mentioned Sir, the vital food-water-energy nexus. Jordan is the second water-poorest country in the world. And indeed, the water situation in our two countries could not be more different. But I say that no two countries better understand the profound impact of water management on humanity’s future. So I think there are some very fruitful areas for our combined knowledge.

Security cooperation is obviously another area of enormous shared interest and concern. And I have strongly advocated a holistic, comprehensive approach, one that addresses the threat, while also fighting the war of ideas through inclusion and moderation, giving all people especially young people a stake in a future of peace and mutual respect. These are values the Dutch have championed for so long.

Finally, let me say a word about crisis resolution. It is vital to push forward on the Geneva process, to help the parties in Syria reach an inclusive political settlement. But we also cannot lose sight of the region’s central crisis the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or the growing and global concern for the safety of Jerusalem. We need to protect the holy city and get the peace process back on track. As a respected leader of diplomacy and peace, the Netherlands can play an important role.

My friends, I’ve outlined only a few areas of mutual interest. There are many more opportunities to fulfil the goals that Jordan and the Netherlands share. I welcome your ideas, and I look forward to expanding our partnerships, in creative new ways, in the days ahead."

In response to questions from a number of students, one of which addressed the Syrian crisis and the role of the international community in reaching a political solution to it, His Majesty said: "I think it’s a very complicated issue, and we’re not going to find quick solutions quickly. There are two parts of it. How do we get Syria back into the light? And that comes, hopefully, through the Geneva process, where we can find the changes in the constitution, and the electoral process that allows Syria to move forward; keeping in mind that ISIS is defeated, not destroyed, and that’s not just in Syria or Iraq, but in other places of the world.

He added that Russia has a role in Syria and "what you’re seeing is the Astana process, which was military deconfliction, leading to the Geneva process, which is the political aspect of this. It’s going to be baby steps." "In the south, we have relative calm, and that’s because the Russians, Americans, and the Jordanians are sitting in a centre, 24/7 looking at deconfliction. Iran’s presence is a bit of a wild card, especially as we try to move the stability aspect, so that we can have rebuilding and move in the right direction. And the success of the south, hopefully, will allow us to do the same thing in the middle and the north," His Majesty noted.

He added: "If anybody thinks it’s going to be solved in 2018 I don’t see it. Some other people have come to me and said, well, ‘you know, this is too difficult’. So my answer is, ‘what else do we do?’ We can’t give up on Syria, so I don’t want to depress anybody here, but it just means looking at the glass half-full, not taking no for an answer, and continuing to move Syria in the right direction. And the goal is to get to Geneva. And it’s going to take all of us the international community, the coalitions to come together, as long as you keep in mind that you want Syria solved for the Syrians and for their betterment; then, I think we will get there." In response to a question about the development of the ICT sector in Jordan and the role of Jordanian youth in keeping up with the latest international technologies in this field, His Majesty said this applies to every country, from Norway to the Netherlands to Jordan, adding: "The only hope that we have is the younger generation, and young people taking us in the right direction." He pointed out that "in Jordan, IT is a very big, growing sector of our society. It has been for a while. Seventy-five per cent of Arabic content written in the Middle East is actually based out of Jordan.

His Majesty indicated that: "Part of the challenge is that a lot of Jordanians, once they graduate, they end up going outside, because that’s where the work is. The challenge for us is how do we bring that talent back to Jordan. We have to give opportunities. I don’t mind people going outside and learning best practices and coming back, but at the end of the day, our future is to create the opportunities for Jordanians to come back and give all their talent to developing our country." Replying to a question on the Jordanian model in combating terrorism and extremism and its applicability in other parts of the world, King Abdullah said: "It is a very important point because we are talking about Syria and Iraq and the challenges ahead." "I think the challenge that we’ve had in the past is that for certain Western policies there was a lack of connectivity in looking at this in what we call now the holistic approach", the King added.

His Majesty said Jordan has begun hosting meetings in Aqaba, where representatives of many countries come together to talk unofficially about how to deal with terrorism and radicalisation from a global aspect, adding: "The problem with terrorism and radicalisation is going to be with us for at least another generation, and it’s going to come down to education." He also said: "The good news is that we’re actually quietly talking to each other, that is, the foreign policy side of the house, the intelligence side of the house, the military side of the house; hopefully, those are actually the short-term aspect, but the medium- to long-term is how do we counter-radicalise and how do we coordinate." Speaking on the Balkans, His Majesty said this region has been a source of unrest for Europe and the world over the past 100 years, adding: "If we can solve the problems now so we’re not visiting it in a couple of years’ time from a military perspective; these are the issues that are being discussed now by the international community." "I’m glad to see that people are now looking at it from a global perspective, and I’m very proud that Jordan is playing an important role in that", King Abdullah stressed.

In response to a question about his Majesty's vision of what is needed to counter anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe and the world, and the spread of hate speech, King Abdullah said: "This is a practical problem that we’ve had in our country several years ago, when waves of refugees were coming in large numbers, and Jordanians were saying, enough is enough." His Majesty said Syrian refugees now account for 20 per cent of Jordan’s population, but "if we add the Yemenis, and the Libyans, Iraqis, and to an extent the Palestinians, 40 per cent of our country now are refugees. This is a tremendous drain. So it does take us a bit by surprise when we hear, in other parts of the world, when thousands cross borders, that there’s a major panic." His Majesty noted the burden on Jordan’s northern region, where refugees are adding pressure on the educational and healthcare systems. In this context, he said: "We have roughly a million illegal Egyptian workers working in our country, and if we send them back to Egypt, that is not the right thing to do, and it will create a major problem for Egypt. Egyptian illegal workers are complaining about Syrian refugees challenging their jobs, but at the end of the day, where’s the Jordanian in all this? So it’s something that we’ve had to deal with, and, at the end of the day, you’ve got to do the right thing." "When some people came to me a couple of years ago and said, ‘enough is enough, shut the borders’, I said, ‘OK, how are we going to do that? If a woman comes across the border with her children, what do you want us to do? You want us to shoot at them? That’s what the other side is doing. You just can’t. You have to open your borders. That is the right thing to do," The King said.

He added:"The challenge we have in Jordan is people are taking us for granted, because Jordanians will do the right thing. But today, our people are suffering, so we feel a bit of the anger that we’re seeing elsewhere in the world. But at the end of the day, our people will do the right thing, but we’re asking the rest of the community ‘don’t forget us and help us’, because, at the end of the day, Jordan is based on doing the right thing." In response to a question about the role required of The Hague as an international capital for peace and justice, His Majesty said: "It’s what you stand for. It’s bringing people from diverse backgrounds, from all over the world, wanting to learn about each other, and looking at it from a global perspective. We are in an interconnected world whatever happens in one part of the world will eventually affect the other side, and the only way that we overcome that is to get to know each other, to understand each another, to believe in diversity.

He further said: "At the end of the day, young people want an opportunity at life; they want to be happy; and they want to be safe and secure. And I think that goes for 99.9 per cent of the world. Part of the problem is we do tend to be the silent majority, and so we are affected by fringe groups; we are intimidated by fringe groups, and, sometimes, we can be led by populist ideology." "I think most people are good-hearted people. If there’s something wrong, we will stand up and say enough is enough, and I think it’s time now that the world says no to those that are preaching hatred," His Majesty concluded.

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