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Iraq, Jordan Open New Chapter in Cooperation

Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz arrived in Baghdad Saturday on an official visit to hold talks with his Iraqi counterpart Adel Abdul Mahdi.

The visit marked a new chapter in cooperation between the two neighboring countries with the two officials agreeing on establishing a joint industrial zone, as well as granting Jordan customs exemptions.

They also agreed on increasing the trade between Baghdad and Amman and using Jordan’s Aqaba port as a platform to export Iraqi oil.

Razzaz’s visit was the first by a high-ranking Jordanian official to Iraq since Abdul Mahdi was appointed to his post in October. He also met with Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Abdul Mahdi welcomed the agreements that were reached with Amman, saying that discussions had covered political, security and economic files.

“The talks are very important in reaching further progress in ties between the two neighboring countries,” he added in a statement.

Among the most significant deals was the reopening the Karama-Treibil border crossing to door-to-door transport and a 75 percent reduction in the fees levied on Iraq-bound goods imported via the Port of Aqaba, said the Petra news agency.

In the energy sector, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a direct electricity link between them and also agreed to finalize a framework agreement to build the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline from the southern Iraqi city of Basra to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019, added Petra.

The technical committee will agree on the details of transport and pricing of exported Iraqi oil to Jordan before February 2, 2019.

Economics professor Abdulrahman al-Mashhadani said that the agreements reveal the size of cooperation between the two neighbors for the upcoming phase.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Jordan could act as Iraq’s main gateway in wake of the United States’ re-imposition of sanctions against Iran.

“The Jordanians know how to take advantage of the circumstances that Iraq usually goes through. This was demonstrated during the Iraq-Jordan war in the 1980s,” he remarked.

He also noted how Jordan acted as Iraq’s only gateway during the 1990s when an international embargo was imposed on Baghdad.

Source: Asharq Al- Awsat

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