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Belgian Ambassador : Jordanian-Belgian ties distinguished, room ample for closer cooperation


[7/19/2020 7:25:19 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Belgian Ambassador to Jordan, Filip Vanden Bulcke, has said Jordan and Belgium maintain strong relations in various political and economic domains, stressing that the distinguished relationship between the royal families in both countries has reflected positively on bilateral cooperation.

Speaking to Petra on the occasion of his country's national day, the Belgian ambassador referred to His Majesty King Abdullah II's most recent visit to Belgium earlier this year as well as His Majesty King Philip's visits to Jordan, and said these visits open greater prospects for closer cooperation.

The Ambassador announced that Enabel, the Belgian Development Agency, is in the final stages of registration in Jordan and will start its operations soon to implement a project financed by the European Union through the "Madad" fund to support Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan through vocational training and job opportunities, in cooperation with the German and Spanish development agencies.

He stressed the importance of the humanitarian role that Jordan plays in receiving Syrian refugees, and before them Iraqis and Palestinians, stressing Belgium's support to Jordan through UN humanitarian funds and through the European Union to enable Jordan to continue to play this important role.

The Ambassador also expressed the appreciation of the people and government of Belgium for Jordan's initiative in sending medical materials and assistance to Belgium to confront the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting ongoing cooperation and coordination between the two countries to deal with this pandemic, while praising Jordan's successful management of this crisis.

On the political level, the ambassador said that consultation and coordination are continuing between the two countries at various levels regarding regional issues and issues of common concern, considering Jordan as an important country in the region.

Bulcke stressed that his country's position on Israel’s intention to annex parts of the West Bank is consistent with the EU and Jordanian positions, which call for finding a just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the two-state solution through negotiations in line with UN resolutions and internationally agreed references.

He added that Belgium, which is a currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, is doing everything it can in coordination with partners to press for a return to negotiations.

On economic cooperation, the ambassador pointed out that Belgium's exports to Jordan in 2019 amounted to 271.5 million euros, which makes Jordan rank 72nd among the countries importing from Belgium. Belgium's imports from Jordan amounted to 46.2 million euros, which makes Jordan rank 105th among countries exporting to Belgium, with the trade balance amounting to 225.3 million euros. Chemical products constitute the bulk of imports and exports between the two countries.

He added that, compared to the main European countries, Belgium ranks fourth in terms of exports to Jordan, after France, Germany and the United Kingdom. But what is interesting to note is that Belgium was over the last few years the main importer of Jordanian products among European countries, noting that there is a good number of Jordanian companies that deal with Belgian companies and represent them in Jordan in addition to the presence of a number of Belgian companies located in Jordan.

The Ambassador added that in order to facilitate business and cultural exchange and to encourage an increase in the trade volume, the Belgian Embassy established the "Belgian Jordanian Business and Friendship Association" (JBFA) in 2019. The association's board of directors is currently working to attract new members from the business community.

He pointed out that thanks to the operation of ta direct flight between Amman and Brussels by Ryanair since 2018, the number of Belgian tourists to Jordan has started to increase steadily. In 2018, the number of Belgian tourists reached 9070 tourists, an increase of 26% compared to 2017. The number of Belgian tourists who visited Jordan in 2019 amounted to 12,963, an increase of about 30% compared 2018.

Furthermore, the Ambassador highlighted the existing cooperation between Jordan and Belgium in countering terrorism, noting that the two countries have suffered terrorist attacks and are members of the international coalition to defeat Daesh.

He said that Belgium supports the Aqaba process launched by His Majesty King Abdullah II to mobilize support and coordinate efforts to counter terrorism.
The ambassador of Belgium in Amman, who is also accredited to Iraq, pointed out the challenges that Iraq is witnessing, including in facing terrorism. He highlighted the support that Belgium and Jordan are providing to Iraq to reach stability, unity and security.


*Petra

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