King meets Belgian monarch, officials

In News by Noora Chahine

Jordan Times

AMMAN (JT) – His Majesty King Abdullah met on Wednesday with King Albert II of Belgium and discussed ways to increase Jordan’s cooperation with Belgium and the EU.

Discussions also focused on the latest regional developments, mainly the Middle East peace efforts.

During the meeting, attended by Belgium’s Prime Minister Yves Leterme, His Majesty and King Albert reviewed means to boost cooperation, especially in the fields of economy, trade and investment, a Royal Court statement said.

Talks between the two leaders hold special importance especially as Jordan has recently obtained advanced status in its partnership with the EU and Belgium currently holds the union’s rotating presidency, the statement said.

During the meeting, the two sides also examined expanding cooperation to foster dialogue among the followers of Abrahamic religions.

On several occasions, King Abdullah has stressed the need to remind people that the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have a commonality of values.

In October, the UN General Assembly adopted an initiative proposed by King Abdullah to hold a “World Interfaith Harmony Week”, during the first week of February every year.

The initiative seeks to spread the message of interfaith harmony among the followers of the three faiths.

On regional developments, His Majesty and King Albert discussed efforts to achieve a comprehensive and viable peace, on the basis of the two-state solution.

The two sides emphasised the need to intensify efforts to overcome obstacles hampering chances to achieve tangible progress in the peace process and set up an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian national soil.

Also yesterday, the King met separately with President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.

Discussions addressed regional and international issues of mutual interest as well as steps needed to develop economic cooperation between Jordan and the EU.

The King voiced appreciation for EU’s support for Jordan and interest in increased cooperation with the Kingdom.

The King underscored the EU’s role in supporting peace efforts and praised the union for its clear position on settlements.

Emphasising the importance to achieve peace to avert any future tension, the King asserted the need for stopping all unilateral Israeli procedures, especially Israel’s settlement activity, noting that it threatens the future of the peace process.

The King also met with President of Belgium’s Chamber of Representatives André Flahaut and several Belgian deputies with whom he discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries parliaments’ and further the exchange of legislative expertise.

On the sidelines of the visit, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan signed the Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between Jordan and the EU.

Hassan said the agreement will strengthen the Euro-Med aviation sector.

The agreement, which was initialled in March 2010, will ensure the establishment of common standards in the field of air transport and the progressive opening-up of markets.

It will allow airlines to extend their services from any point in Jordan, Europe and Euro-Med partner countries without any restrictions on charges and carrying capacity.

Source.