AMMAN: The need to boost regional economic cooperation topped the agenda at a tripartite summit meeting between the leaders of Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan.
Ways of strengthening strategic bonds for the mutual benefit of the three nations’ economies were the focus of talks at the forum in the Jordanian capital Amman.
A final communique said: “The summit took place to strengthen active partnership within the tripartite coordinating mechanism between Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt and in seeking to deepen the strategic complimentary cooperation between the three countries on the economic, development, political security, and cultural level.”
The statement added that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had praised Jordanian King Abdullah’s call to “recalibrate globalization in order to accomplish positive independence and mutual exchange.”
A rotating secretariat was established to ensure the continued cooperation and coordination between the three countries.
Jawad Al-Hamad, president of the Middle East Studies Center, told Arab News that Jordan had strategic projects with Iraq, and was a transit country between Egypt and Iraq. “While Jordan is not interested in major openness because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), it is willing to accept a gradual opening to people while accelerating other economic issues.”
Oraib Rantawi, director of Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, said: “While this was a follow-up meeting to an earlier summit in New York, the aim was focused on reviving the Arab Economic Council.
“Both Egypt and Jordan hope to find job opportunities for their citizens. At one time, 5 million Egyptians were working in Iraq,” he added.
Correspondent for Al-Quds Al-Arabi in Amman, Bassam Badarin, told Arab News that the summit agenda had put economics before politics and had discussed better usage of the Red Sea route.
He pointed out that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi was now the new political star of the region following his recent successful visit to Washington and said Iraq’s new premier had plans to reduce Iranian influence on his country and the region.
However, former Jordanian minister, Nadia Alloul, said regional politics was never far below the surface of meetings involving Arab leaders. “In our region politics is always present and currently one can’t avoid the political discourse especially when it concerns the Palestinian issue.”
The official Jordanian news agency Petra said that prior to the summit, a meeting between King Abdullah and El-Sisi had dealt with “efforts to fight terrorism” and “the importance of maintaining coordination and consultation on issues of mutual concern, in the best interest of the two peoples and in service of Arab causes.”
The agency added: “The meeting between His Majesty and Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi covered the strong ties between Jordan and Iraq, and the importance of bolstering them, while maintaining coordination on various issues.
“The king stressed the importance of activating bilateral agreements in all sectors to advance economic relations, especially in energy, electricity interconnection, and trade exchange.
“Moreover, the king said that Jordan supports ‘Iraq’s efforts to bolster its security and stability, and maintain its territorial integrity and political independence, while countering all foreign attempts to meddle in its internal affairs,’” Petra said.