King, Austrian President hold talks on ties, Mideast issues | Jordan News | Ammon News

King, Austrian President hold talks on ties, Mideast issues

[4/18/2018 12:42:13 PM]

AMMONNEWS - His Majesty King Abdullah II and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on Wednesday held talks at the Al-Husseiniya Palace focusing on ways of expanding cooperation between Jordan and Austria as well as a number of Middle East and world issues.

Following a one-on-one meeting, His Majesty the King and the Austrian president held a plenary discussion tackling prospects for closer economic cooperation and higher two-way trade exchange between the two nations, especially in areas of technical education, agriculture and tourism.

During the talks, attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, the Austrian president's wife and senior officials from both countries, the two leaders emphasized the importance of forging partnerships between the public and private sectors in both countries and looked into ways of benefitting from Austria's expertise in the vocational and technical training, business incubators and entrepreneurship domains.

They also explored prospects for opening up new exports markets to Jordanian products, particularly agro produce.

King Abdullah and President Van der Bellen underlined the need for coordination and consultation between Jordan and Austria on various issues of common concern to support peacemaking efforts and bolster security and stability here in the Middle East and across the globe.

In a speech, His Majesty the King welcomed President van der Belen, his wife and the accompanying delegation. He said: "On behalf of myself, and Rania and the entire Jordanian government and people, we welcome you to Jordan, and we are delighted to have you here on your first visit." King Abdullah indicated that relations between Jordan and Austria span over more than 60 years, underlining the outstanding cooperation between the two countries in the political, military and security fields.

"We have good economic ties, but we could always, as most countries could say, try to improve that," His Majesty noted, citing the Austrian president’s meeting in Amman with Jordanian and Austrian businesspeople as a good example of ways to strengthen economic cooperation.

His Majesty added: "I wanted to thank you very much for your country’s support of our refugee challenges, and looking after Jordan, speaking up for us whenever there is a chance in the international community." The Austrian president also delivered a speech in which he said he was happy to visit Jordan, which is his first to the region since taking office.

"We realise, of course, what challenges that Jordan had to deal with in particular, in the last seven years. And your geographical position is, to say the least, not particularly easy, also concerning the most recent developments, around your country, so we are full of admiration for what you handled all over those years," the president said.

The Austrian president stressed that his country is keen to continue to develop the distinguished relations between the two countries. President Van der Bellen thanked His Majesty for the warm hospitality and said he was looking forward to visiting the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, noting that he will also visit the Zaatari Refugee Camp.

During the talks, held over a working lunch, the two leaders discussed current developments in the region and efforts to reach political solutions to them.

On the Palestinian issue, King Abdullah stressed the need to intensify efforts to re-launch serious and effective negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis based on the two-state solution, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

King Abdullah highlighted the importance of the role that Austria and the European Union can play to bring about a just and comprehensive peace in the region, especially as Austria will assume the presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year.

With regard to Jerusalem, His Majesty underlined the holy city's importance for Muslims and Christians, and said Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region.

The talks also touched on role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the need for the international community to support the agency to enable it to continue providing education, health and relief services to Palestinian refugees.

With regard to the Syrian crisis, His Majesty affirmed Jordan's support for all efforts and initiatives aimed at finding a political solution to this crisis within the Geneva process, in order to restore security and stability in Syria.

During the talks, the King and the Austrian President exchanged views on a number of international issues, among which is the war on terror within a holistic strategy.

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