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» Jordan, Czech Republic draw roadmap of future cooperation
Prague expected to serve as Jordan’s gateway into EU markets, seeks Amman’s cooperation when Syria reconstruction starts
By JT - Aug 22,2017 - Last updated at Aug 22,2017
Prime Minister Hani Mulki and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka talk to reporters at a press conference in Prague on Tuesday (Petra photo)
AMMAN — Prime Minister Hani Mulki on Tuesday paid an official visit to the Czech Republic, during which he held talks with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on the bilateral relations and means of boosting them in all fields, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Tuesday.
Mulki is accompanied by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani, Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Yarub Qudah and Jordanian Ambassador to the Czech Republic Hussam Al Husseini.
The official talks between the two also addressed the situation in the Middle East, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue, the Syrian crisis and its security and humanitarian repercussions on the countries of the region.
Mulki and his Czech counterpart stressed the importance of developing the Jordanian-Czech relations and enhancing the economic cooperation between the two countries to the level of the distinguished political relations between them.
“We in Jordan attach particular importance to the development of our bilateral relations with the Czech Republic in all fields: political, commercial, educational and security,” he said.
He also stressed the importance of the role that the private sectors in the two countries should play in exploring opportunities and areas of joint cooperation.
Mulki lauded the outcome of the Jordanian-Czech Business Forum meeting, which was held in Amman last year, stressing that it was an important step to develop economic relations and increase trade exchange.
He expressed the government’s willingness to facilitate entry visas to Jordan for Czech businessmen.
The prime minister stressed the desire to open a Jordanian embassy in Prague to serve the interests of both countries.
He said that the opening of the embassy should be coupled with an increase in the volume of trade exchange and tourism traffic between the two countries.
He thanked the Czech Republic for supporting Jordan and asked Prague to continue such support through the EU, where it can urge donor countries to fulfil their commitments to Jordan, which has only reached 60 per cent of the pledges made to enable Jordan to continue the provision of basic services to Syrian refugees.
Mulki pointed out that Jordan looks forward to a Czech Republic plan to set up a specialised vocational training centre to increase the efficiency of Jordanian and Syrian workers, equip Jordanian youth with skills demanded by the labour market and enable refugees to participate in the reconstruction of Syria.
For his part, the Czech premier said that his country considers Jordan an important partner in the Middle East region and a host of Syrian.
He underlined a medical care programme dubbed “Medevac”, which was created by the Czech Republic to provide medical and therapeutic services to Syrian refugees in Jordan through doctors from the East European country, urging authorities to facilitate the issuance of medical licences for medics affiliated with the programme.
The Cabinet members accompanying the premier took turn to present their visions of how to improve Jordanian-Czech relations and cooperation between the two countries.
Fakhoury spoke about the technical cooperation and development, pointing out the challenges facing Jordan as a result of the Syrian crisis, especially since about 90 per cent of the Syrian refugees live outside the refugee camps.
He pointed out that the cost of hosting Syrian refugees has over the past six years amounted to about JD12 billion, at a time when donor countries have not completely fulfilled their commitments.
He called on Czech Republic as the current president of the EU Economic and Social Council to continue supporting Jordan and see that donors fulfil their pledges made at international conferences.
Momani reviewed Jordan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism as part of a holistic plan that features military, security and ideological aspects.
He pointed out that the tripartite agreement reached between Jordan, the United States and Russia, “in which Jordan played a pivotal role”, contributed to significant improvement through the ceasefire in southern Syria, expressing hope that it would lead to a political solution based on the Geneva accords.
For his part, Qudah urged an increase in the volume of trade between Jordan and the Czech Republic and Jordanian exports to Czech Republic, while Prague, he said, can serve as a gateway for Jordanian products into the European market.
For his part, Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said that Jordan plays a very important role, which is a position that Czech appreciates and respects, pointing out progress in the field of defence cooperation between the two countries.
During the two-day visit, Mulki will also meet with senior officials, representatives of the private sector and businessmen in the Czech Republic to discuss ways to boost economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.
Among the deals signed yesterday, Jordan and Czech ambassadors Hussam Husseini and Petr Hladik signed a cooperation agreement in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Under the agreement, Jordan and the Czech Republic will exchange expertise and training in this sector.
At a joint press conference following the talks, Mulki expressed appreciation for the Czech Republic’s stance towards the Palestinian issue, which calls for solving it on the basis of the two-state formula.
Mulki said that he and his counterpart also discussed several issues such as the Syrian crisis, the Czech humanitarian aid and the war on terrorism.
For his part, Sobotka commended Jordan’s stability despite the turmoil that is prevailing in the region, stressing Czech Republic’s support to Jordan in combating terrorism.
Sobotka underlined the prospects of cooperation between Jordan and the Czech Republic in the reconstruction of Syria and helping the Syrian refugees return to their homes.
In regard to trade and investment, the prime minister announced that Czech trade delegations are scheduled to visit Jordan next autumn, while Jordanian companies and businesspeople will take part in an industrial fair in Brno city.
The premier said that the future of trade exchange depends on effective communication between the two countries’ private sectors.
Mulki and the accompanying delegation also met with the Chair of the Czech Chamber of Deputies Jan Hamacek.
During the meeting, Mulki and Hamacek discussed bilateral relations, regional developments and the burdens of hosting Syrian refugees shouldered by Jordan.
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