Jordan’s king raises Palestine’s plight in talks with Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, welcomes Jordan’s King Abdullah at the Elysee Palace. (AP)
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Updated 17 January 2020

Jordan’s king raises Palestine’s plight in talks with Macron

  • Both leaders also highlighted the need for de-escalation in the conflict between Iran and the US

PARIS: France is committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, French President Emmanuel Macron told Jordan’s King Abdullah during talks between the two leaders at the Elysee Palace.

Macron’s comments came a week before he is due to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Discussions between the French leader and King Abdullah centered on the Israeli-Palestinian question, the plight of Syrian refugees in Jordan and the country’s struggling economy.

Both leaders also highlighted the need for de-escalation in the conflict between Iran and the US, diplomatic sources told Arab News.

King Abdullah said that a political solution to the Syrian conflict is needed urgently.

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Discussions between the French leader and King Abdullah centered on the Israeli-Palestinian question, the plight of Syrian refugees in Jordan and the country’s struggling economy.

Without an agreement on safe, voluntary repatriation, Jordan cannot put pressure on Syrian refugees to return to their country, he told Macron.

Since 2018 the number of Syrian refugees returning home had dwindled, he said, with 90 percent now living outside camps in cities and regional areas.

The Jordanian leader has called for international efforts to ensure refugees’ voluntary and safe return to their homeland, and is appealing to France to lead a European push for this solution.

King Abdullah urged France — Jordan’s biggest investor outside the Arab League — to increase investment in the country, saying that although its political and security situation is stable, the struggling economy “could lead to a crisis.” 

The two leaders agreed on the need for de-escalation between the US and Iran, both in public comments and on the ground, and also called for a consensus Iraqi government that will “protect the country, its unity and sovereignty.”

The Jordanian leader told Macron that the “fragile situation” in Lebanon must be addressed and a consensus government established as quickly as possible.


Gulf countries announce measures to cut links with Iran as coronavirus cases rise in Middle East

Updated 24 min 46 sec ago

Gulf countries announce measures to cut links with Iran as coronavirus cases rise in Middle East

  • The UAE suspended all passenger and cargo flights to Iran
  • Kuwait has canceled celebrations for national holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday

DUBAI: Gulf countries announced new measures on Tuesday to cut links with Iran to prevent coronavirus spreading after the confirmation of 20 new cases, all of them people returning from the Islamic republic.

The UAE suspended all passenger and cargo flights to Iran after Kuwait and Bahrain announced the additional cases of COVID-19.

Over the past two days, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman have reported 29 cases of the novel coronavirus among people returning from pilgrimages to Iran, which is battling the deadliest outbreak outside China and where the death toll has reached 16.

Bahrain also announced 15 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number affected in the kingdom to 23 — including six Saudi women — after some of the people had returned from Iran via Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority “suspended all passenger flights and cargo to and from Iran starting today and for one week,” a statement carried by the official WAM news agency said, adding that the ban could be extended.

Also on Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed tweeted that the UAE was ready to provide all forms of support to help China combat the spread of the virus.

Shortly after, the Bahraini authorities said citizens were banned from traveling to Iran “until further notice.”

In neighboring Kuwait, three new cases were recorded among Kuwaiti men who had been under quarantine after returning from Iran.

Oman, which on Monday reported its first cases of coronavirus in two Omani women who had returned from Iran, reported an additional two cases.

Muscat was making arrangements to bring back its citizens from the Islamic republic, the foreign ministry said, a day after it suspended all flights to and from Iran.

Oman also announced that it will suspend the import and export of goods from Iran from Wednesday.

The three countries have large Shiite Muslim populations who frequently travel to Iran to visit holy shrines.

The UAE has already announced 13 coronavirus cases, all foreigners, including an Iranian couple who had traveled from Iran.

Kuwait has canceled celebrations for national holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday and also scrapped all sports events to counter the spread of the disease.