(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Monday held talks with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide covering ways to bolster partnership between the two countries and expand cooperation in the economic, investment, educational and defence fields.
The talks came within the framework of the first round of annual political consultations that the two countries agreed to institutionalise in 2019, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.
Discussions also focused on developments pertaining to the Palestinian issue, the Syrian crisis, refugees, the fight against terrorism, and support for Iraq.
During the meeting, Safadi expressed appreciation of Norway's support to Jordan in hosting refugees and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
The ministers affirmed the continuation of work to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.
Safadi highlighted the two-state solution as the only way to materialise peace in accordance with international law and the Arab Peace Initiative.
Praising Norway's support for UNRWA, Safadi stressed the importance of the international community's funding to the agency to ensure the continuation of its vital services to Palestinian refugees.
Safadi also called on the international community to bear its responsibilities towards the Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them.
Soreidi underlined her country's keenness to develop its relations with Jordan, expressing Norway's appreciation of Jordan's role and the efforts led by His Majesty King Abdullah to enhance security and stability. She also praised Jordan's humanitarian role in hosting refugees.
Safadi described Norway as an effective partner for Jordan, pointing out that the“relationship between the two royal families is very strong”, referring to the visit of the King and the Queen of Norway to Jordan last year, which served to emphasise the depth of relations between the two countries.
Safadi expressed his aspiration to increase cooperation between the two countries in the fields of education, investment, tourism, defence and the fight against terrorism, which constitutes a common threat that must be defeated militarily and ideologically.
The Jordanian foreign minister added that the meeting was an opportunity to address areas of joint interests and many regional issues, foremost of which is the Palestinian issue, including relaunching negotiations and achieving a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution.
Safadi also thanked Norway for the important and effective role it plays through its chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee to Coordination of International Aid to the Brotherly Palestinian People (AHLC), which contributes“to pushing for a political and economic horizon to improve the living conditions of Palestinian people”.
In regard to the crisis in Syria, Safadi stressed the need to end“the tragedy” and restore Syria's safety and security in addition to its role in the region.
He extended appreciation of Norway's support towards the Kingdom in hosting Syrian refugees, adding that Jordan has shouldered the greatest responsibilities as a result of the crises afflicting the region, which have greatly affected the education sector and the infrastructure.
He urged working together to meet the needs of refugees, which have shifted in nature from humanitarian to developmental.
Valuing Jordan's role in hosting Syrian refugees, Soreide pointed to the Norwegian efforts with members of the Security Council in July, leading to a unanimous decision on renewing the UN mandate to introduce humanitarian aid across the border into Syria.
Moreover, she referred to the cooperation between the two countries in fighting extremism within the framework of the UN.
She also highlighted the important economic and political reforms directed by His Majesty.
She emphasised that Jordan is a strong and reliable partner of Norway in the region.
The two ministers signed a memorandum of political consultations between Jordan and Norway on the sidelines of the summit meeting between His Majesty King Abdullah and King Harald V, which was held in the Kingdom in March 2020, to organise cooperation between the two countries on all regional and bilateral issues and challenges.
Additionally, Safadi met with the Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in the Norwegian Parliament Anniken Huitfeldt and her deputy Christian Tybring, at the Norwegian Parliament, during which they discussed frameworks for strengthening bilateral relations.
The meeting also dealt with regional developments, and focused on relaunching serious and effective negotiations on the basis of the two-state solution and reviewed the efforts aimed to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis to restore its safety and stability, and ensure the voluntary return of refugees.
Praising Jordan's hosting Syrian refugees, Huitfeldt also lauded the strength of relations between the two countries.
Norweigan contributions during the Syrian crisis amounted to $1.7 million.
In 2021, Norway's funding to UNRWA stood at a value of $14.7 million.
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