September 7, 2004
Amman: His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday said Jordan will continue supporting international efforts to help rebuild Iraq and reduce its foreign debt.
“The Kingdom will continue its contacts with the international community to rally support for the reconstruction of Iraq and easing its debt,” King Abdullah was quoted by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, as telling Iraqi Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation Mahdi Hafez at a Royal Court meeting.
Iraq owes $120 billion in foreign debt, including some $50 billion to Gulf states and more than $1.3 billion to Jordan, most of it to private firms, according to Agence France-Presse.
In June, world leaders broke up a three-day summit of the Group of Eight most industrialised nations in the US state of Georgia, without bridging a rift over US President George W. Bush’s proposal to forgive Iraq’s debt.
France, Russia and Canada were among countries who have resisted US efforts to release Iraq from its obligations.
Amman is expected to host an October meeting of the Jordanian-Iraqi Higher Committee.
The meeting is set to discuss numerous bilateral issues, including border security between the two neighbours and the question of Iraq’s debt.
Hafez also held separate talks with Prime Minister Faisal Fayez to prepare for that meeting, which is aimed at “bolstering strategic cooperation” between the two countries, Petra said.
The committee is to discuss several joint projects between Jordan and Iraq as well as pave the way for the signing of a free trade agreement, Petra said.
“We need to set up a strategic framework between the two countries . . . in order to achieve an economic renaissance and meet the hopes of our people,” Hafez said.