Prime Minister of Jordan Abdallah Ensour this week met with high level Egyptian officials including his counterpart Hazem El-Beblawi, interim President Adly Mansour, and Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
Ensour and El-Beblawi oversaw meetings with a long list of cabinet members from both countries as part of the 24th Joint Commission cycle. The Egyptian ministers of higher education, tourism and transportation, agriculture, antiquities, planning and international cooperation, supply, housing, information, petroleum, scientific research, health, manpower, and youth carried out meetings with the Jordan side, which included the ministers of higher education and scientific research, water, labour, tourism, archaeology, media, health, transportation, industry, commerce and supply, agriculture, planning and international cooperation, energy and mineral resources, and culture.
In a joint press conference between the two prime ministers, El-Beblawi praised Jordan’s “support for the 30 June Revolution”, adding that Jordanian King Abdullah II was the first world leader to support Egypt following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. Additionally, President Mansour’s first trip abroad included a stop in the country’s capital, Amman.
El-Beblawi also lauded the growing bilateral relations between the two nations, saying that the growing volume of trade between Jordan and Egypt have reached approximately $1 bn. Jordanian investments in Egypt have reached half a billion dollars across 1,300 companies in the fields of industry, services, tourism, agriculture, construction, and communications, he said.
He praised the “efforts made by the concerned authorities in the two countries to overcome all the obstacles and constraints that were preventing the flow of trade between [Jordan and Egypt].”
El-Beblawi also discussed cooperation in the fields of electricity and energy, saying it was a priority between the two nations.
The interim prime minister thanked the Jordanian government for the welfare of Egyptian workers in Jordan, which his counterpart estimated to be around 750,000 Egyptians.
Ensour praised the ties between the two countries, saying the relationship served as “model of cooperation between Arab countries”. He stressed the importance of developing transportation between the two countries to “increase opportunities for trade.”
The two sides signed eight memoranda of understanding, according to a statement issued by the cabinet. These included programmes for bilateral cooperation in the fields of vocational training, manpower, youth, culture, export development, social development, tourism, drinking water, and sanitation.
The commission is set to regroup during the second half of 2014 in Cairo, the cabinet spokesman said. There will be additional meetings in the first quarter of 2015.
Since 1984, the Joint Commission has helped finalise agreements between Egypt and Jordan, including the 2001 agreement on natural gas distribution, the 2009 executive programme for cooperation in the field of higher education, and the 2009 cooperation agreement in the field of competition.
Jordan has strongly supported Egypt’s transition following Morsi’s ouster last July. Ministers and government officials from both sides have conducted a number of bilateral meetings.
During Mansour’s October visit to Jordan, he met with king Abdullah II after the latter visit Cairo two weeks after Morsi’s ouster.