Jordanian king in Iraq to finalize Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline

King Abdullah’s last trip to Iraq was in 2008, when he became the first Arab leader to visit Baghdad after strongman Saddam Hussein was toppled by the US-led invasion in 2003. (AFP)
Updated 15 January 2019
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Jordanian king in Iraq to finalize Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline

  • The visit is the latest in a string of top-level diplomatic encounters in Iraq in recent weeks
  • The two countries share a 179-kilometer border, and Jordan is a major importer of Iraqi crude oil

BAGHAD: King Abdullah of Jordan visited Iraq on Monday to activate security agreements between the two countries and finalize an oil pipeline project from Basra to the port of Aqaba.

The king, on his first visit since 2008, was greeted by President Barham Salih on a red carpet at Baghdad airport before heading to meet Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Salih welcomed the visit as strengthening “joint interests and security.”

The visit took place amid confusion in the region after the US administration’s decision to withdraw its troops from Syria and the escalation of US pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

“Baghdad and Amman will be the basis for strengthening relations between Arab brothers and starting a serious and constructive dialogue to end the crises in the region,” Salih’s office said.

The king also had talks with parliamentary Speaker Mohammed Al-Halabousi and Ammar Al-Hakim, head of the Reform Coalition, one of the biggest parliamentary blocs.

Iraqi officials told Arab News the visit was aimed at activating economic and security agreements signed by Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz in Baghdad last month, including the pipeline.

“The Jordanians eagerly want the project of extending the oil pipeline from Basra to Aqaba as this will revive the port and it will bring great financial resources to Jordan,” a senior Iraqi official said.


President Donald Trump officially recognizes Israeli sovereignty of Golan Heights

Updated 1 min 33 sec ago
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President Donald Trump officially recognizes Israeli sovereignty of Golan Heights

  • Israel captured the region from Syria in 1967 war
  • Gulf Cooperation Council last week expressed regret at Donald Trump's plan

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump officially recognized Israel's sovereignty of the Golan Heights in Washington on Monday.

The document reverses more than a half-century of US policy as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House.

Trump had previewed the move in a tweet last week, in which he said the US would take the step after 52 years of Israeli occupation of the strategic highlands on the border with Syria.

Israel captured the region from Syria in 1967 but its sovereignty over the territory is not recognized by the international community.

The Syrian government said that Washington's recognition of Israeli claims over the Golan Heights were a blatant attack on its sovereignty.

"In a blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, the president of he US has recognised the annexation of the Syrian Golan," a foreign ministry source said, quoted by state news agency SANA.

Last Friday, the Gulf Cooperation Council expressed regret at Donald Trump's plan to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the territory.

Trump's statement "will not change the reality that (...) the Arab Golan Heights is Syrian land occupied by Israel by military force in 1967," said Abdul Latif Al Zayani, the GCC secretary general.

After Trump's decision, Russia warned it would prompt a "new wave" of Middle East tensions.

(With Agencies)

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