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

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.


Palestinian leader roundly rejects Trump peace plan

Updated 28 min 46 sec ago

Palestinian leader roundly rejects Trump peace plan

  • Mahmoud Abbas says Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation
  • Calls for Palestinians to resist the plan through 'peaceful, popular means'

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “a thousand no's” Tuesday to the Mideast peace plan announced by President Donald Trump, which strongly favors Israel.
“After the nonsense that we heard today we say a thousand no's to the Deal of The Century," Abbas said at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is headquartered.
He said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.
“We will not kneel and we will not surrender,” Abbas said, adding that the Palestinians would resist the plan through “peaceful, popular means.”
The plan would create a Palestinian state in parts of the West Bank, but would allow Israel to annex nearly all of its settlements in the occupied territory. The plan would allow the Palestinians to establish a capital on the outskirts of east Jerusalem but would leave most of the city under Israeli control.
The Islamic militant group ruling Gaza rejected the "conspiracies" announced by the U.S. and Israel and said "all options are open" in responding to the Trump administration's plan.
“We are certain that our Palestinian people will not let these conspiracies pass. So, all options are open. The (Israeli) occupation and the U.S. administration will bear the responsibility for what they did," senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said as he participated in one of several protests that broke out across the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Protesters burned tires and pictures of President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas held an emergency meeting with other Palestinian factions, including Hamas, to discuss a unified response to the plan. Abbas had rejected the deal before it was announced saying the U.S. was hopelessly biased toward Israel.
Jordan meanwhile warned against any Israeli "annexation of Palestinian lands" and reaffirmed its commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, which would include all the West Bank and Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned of “the dangerous consequences of unilateral Israeli measures, such as annexation of Palestinian lands.”
Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab countries to have made peace with Israel.