AMMAN — Russia respects Jordan’s stances on international and regional issues, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
The Russian president commended the Kingdom’s role in the region, describing it as a key partner of Russia during a meeting with His Majesty King Abdullah that focused on bilateral ties and prospects for further cooperation, in addition to the latest developments in the region.
The two leaders underlined their commitment to boost ties and capitalise on the “huge” potentials for further bilateral cooperation, especially in politics, economy, agriculture, tourism, transport and energy, a Royal Court statement said.
The Monarch highlighted the opportunities available for the private sectors of both countries to increase joint investments and benefit from the Kingdom’s investor-friendly environment.
The Jordanian-Russian Business Council on Monday called for establishing a joint investment fund to steer investments towards industries benefiting from natural resources available in the Kingdom, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Jordan’s exports to Russia increased by 330 per cent in the last five years to reach $22.8 million compared with $5.2 million in 2007.
The Kingdom’s imports from Russia also went up by 90 per cent since, amounting to $593 million compared with $310 million in 2007.
The number of Russian tourists coming to Jordan has also increased in the last five years with around 70,000 Russian tourists visiting Jordan every year.
During the meeting, the two leaders also underscored the need to bolster efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East in accordance with the two-state solution.
King Abdullah highlighted the important role Russia plays in supporting peace efforts.
Touching on the situation in Syria, the Monarch underlined the need to find a political solution for the crisis that would maintain the unity and stability of Syria and put an end to the bloodshed.
The King, who held a lunch banquet in honour of Putin and the accompanying delegation, said the opening of the Russian Pilgrimage House at the Baptism Site, where Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist, would contribute to improving the relationship between the two countries.
The 40-room guest house, which Putin inaugurated later in the day, is built on a 10-dunum plot of land donated by King Abdullah.
The Russian government financed the construction of the facility, which will be managed by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Putin, who left the Kingdom late Tuesday, thanked the King for donating the land.
HRH Prince Ghazi, chief adviser to the King for religious and cultural affairs and the King’s personal envoy, received Putin at the Baptism Site for the inauguration ceremony.
Putin’s visit to the Kingdom is part of a Middle East tour that also included the Palestinian territories and Israel, Agence France-Presse reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the Russian leader to help unblock long-stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Putin met with Abbas during a stop in Bethlehem on a brief trip to the West Bank, a day after a stop in Israel where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, AFP reported.
In a statement to the press after their meeting, Abbas urged Putin to help secure the release of dozens of Palestinians held in Israeli jails since before the Oslo Accords peace deal, and to host a peace conference in Russia.
“We assured the president that the way to peace is through negotiations with Israel, and we continue to call for him to hold an international peace conference in Moscow, as we previously agreed,” Abbas said.
Putin on Tuesday praised what he called Abbas’ “responsible position”, but cautioned that “any unilateral actions before the final peace settlement are counterproductive”.
“It is necessary to demonstrate extreme reserve, and strictly follow obligations taken upon oneself,” Putin added, according to AFP.