Iraq and Jordan reopen border crossing, boosting relations

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi meets with Jordan's Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz and officials on the Iraqi-Jordanian border, Iraq February 2, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 February 2019
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Iraq and Jordan reopen border crossing, boosting relations

  • Aqaba port at the north end of the Red Sea has long been a major transit route for Iraqi imports and exports, and Amman has long relied on Iraqi crude to fuel its economy

BAGHDAD: Iraq and Jordan have inaugurated a joint industrial area on the border between the neighboring countries.
The ceremony on the Iraq-Jordan border was attended by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his Jordanian counterpart Omar Razzaz.
Saturday’s meeting was also attended by top officials as the former neighbors boost their relations following the defeat of Daesh that controlled areas in Iraq bordering Jordan. The border crossing was formally reopened on Saturday.

Trade deal
As part of the agreement between the two countries that was signed in late December, Iraq will supply Jordan with 10,000 barrels of oil a day at a lower price, transported by tanker from its Kirkuk oilfields, the Jordanian prime minister’s office said in a statement. It did not say what the price was or when the oil would be exported.
Iraqi goods imported via Jordan’s Aqaba port on the Red Sea would meanwhile receive preferential tariffs, it said.
Abdul Mahdi’s office said Iraqi officials were handed 1,300 artifacts that Jordanian authorities confiscated from smugglers.
Aqaba port at the north end of the Red Sea has long been a major transit route for Iraqi imports and exports, and Amman has long relied on Iraqi crude to fuel its economy.
Razzaz’s office also said Jordan would begin to export electricity to Iraq within the next two years.
Abdul Mahdi says the government aims to decrease dependency on oil exports for state revenue. Oil exports from OPEC’s second-largest producer account for more than 95 percent of state revenues.


Moroccans protest prison sentences of anti-poverty activists

Updated 21 April 2019
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Moroccans protest prison sentences of anti-poverty activists

  • Security forces kept watch as participants sang, “The people want the detainees released” and “Long live Rif.”

RABAT: Thousands of demonstrators in Morocco are condemning prison sentences given to the leader of the Hirak Rif anti-poverty movement and dozens of other activists.
The demonstration brought one of the main avenues of the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to a standstill on Sunday. Security forces kept watch as participants sang, “The people want the detainees released” and “Long live Rif.”
Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi was sentenced to the maximum prison term of 20 years for threatening state security. An appeals court upheld his sentence and those of other activists this month.
Rif is the struggling region in northern Morocco where the Hirak movement was born in 2016. The movement demands development and job creation for the region.
Families, human rights organizations and left-wing parties are demanding the imprisoned activists’ immediate release.