Amman not briefed on ‘deal of the century’: Jordanian amb. to Egypt

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Sat, 07 Jul 2018 - 07:22 GMT

Jordanian ambassador to Egypt Ali al-Ayed in a round table  held by Egypt Today on July 2, 2018 - Egypt Today/Karim Abdel-Aziz

Jordanian ambassador to Egypt Ali al-Ayed in a round table held by Egypt Today on July 2, 2018 - Egypt Today/Karim Abdel-Aziz

CAIRO - 7 July 2018: Jordan has not been briefed about the details of a U.S.-Saudi “deal of the century” that proposes an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said Jordanian ambassador to Egypt Ali al-Ayed in a roundtable held by Egypt Today on Monday.

“The U.S. administration did not put any plan or anything on the table (for negotiation so far) and we knew about it from the media,” Ayed continued, noting that what has been circulating gives up the two-state solution.

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Jordanian ambassador to Egypt Ali al-Ayed in a round table held by Egypt Today on July 2, 2018 - Egypt Today/Karim Abdel-Aziz


“If the deal of the century does not include the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital, it would be unacceptable,” Ayed said, adding that all what heard about the deal comes from media.

Both Egypt and Jordan have reiterated their support to the two-state solution along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Jordan’s stance was confirmed by King Abdullah II last week during his visit to the White House, where he met with U.S. president Donald Trump on June 25, the ambassador added.

Ayed affirmed that Cairo and Amman have the same stances towards the deal of the century.

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Jordanian ambassador to Egypt Ali al-Ayed in a round table held by Egypt Today on July 2, 2018 - Egypt Today/Karim Abdel-Aziz


“I have attended several meetings between President Sisi and King Abdullah. I did not differentiate between the Jordanian position and the Egyptian one, as a sign for unified stands and visions,” he continued.

“Jordan has exerted herculean efforts [towards the Palestinian cause] even before the announcement made by U.S. President Trump about making Jerusalem the capital of Israel. We held a series of meetings,” he said, adding that Jordan has escalated the Palestinian cause on many levels, starting from the Arab to Islamic and finally to the international level.

Egypt and Jordan exerted considerable efforts on the Jerusalem file, resulting in significant support from the international community - except for the U.S.- for the Egypt-drafted resolution on Jerusalem at the UN Security Council, he said.

In December 2017, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley vetoed Egypt’s draft resolution. The resolution called on the U.S. administration to reverse its decision regarding the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


‘Harmonizing human rights with security on the border’

Concerning Jordan’s dealing with the crisis of Syrian people stranded south Syria near the Jordanian border, Ayed said his country is trying to harmonize the humanitarian aspect with security.

“The international community should honestly bear its responsibility. The Syrian crisis is a responsibility shared among the international community and does not fall on Jordan alone,” he added.


“Jordan shares its food with Syrian refugees, but there are other aspects that relate to the economy, and security should be taken into consideration as well.”

Due to attacks by Syrian troops and Russian jets’ bombardment on southern Syria, hundreds thousands of Syrians fled the fighting to the borders with Jordan, asking to cross into the Jordanian territories. However, Jordan, which suffers from a financial crisis, announced that it cannot receive more refugees, and instead is trying to reach a ceasefire between Syrian rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s ally of Russia.

“Without a political solution, we do not think that the Syrian refugees could return to their home. Jordan has borne since 2012 the responsibility of refugees. 1.4 million Syrian refugees are in Jordan, a country with limited resources,” he said, adding that this number of refugees represent an economic pressure on the country, where Syrian refugees represent 20 percent of the population.

Ayed said that his country hopes that a recent ceasefire deal in southern Syria be applied all over the Syrian territories to allow Syrians refugees and displaced people to return to their home and re-build it.

“The international community brears only 30 percent of the total cost of hosting the refugees, while the other 70 percent is taken from the state’s budget,” he continued. He added that Jordan is not a country sustained by oil and depends on foreign aid.

Over history, Jordan has received waves of refugees since the establishment of the Jordanian states, from Palestinian, Iraq , and Syria, he said, adding that due to “the reality of geopolitics in Jordan [...] amid the presence of terrorist groups from various ideologies such as Nusra front and ISIS, it is very difficult - in the light of the large influx of the refugees- to determine who is a true refugee [...] and who comes under the cover of being a refugee,” Ayed said.

As for the resettlement of some refugees from Jordan in European countries, Ayed said there is coordination between Jordan and other countries through the United Nations Commission for Refugees Affairs concerning this matter.

Egyptian-Jordanian counter-terrorism cooperation

Countering terrorism should not rely on the military option only, but also should be through dialogue, the way it is done by the Egyptian Islamic institution of Al-Azhar, through raising public awareness and creating economic development, Ayed said.

“Over the Jordanian history, since the establishment of the Jordanian Hashemite Kingdom, the country has fought terrorism; late King Abdullah I was killed in Jerusalem. It was terrorism. Also, two prime ministers were killed,” he said.

On the intelligence level, there is coordination with not only Egypt but other countries against terrorism, Ayed added. “Terrorism is not only in Egypt or Jordan. There are many countries vulnerable to terrorism.” he said.


More cooperation

Economically, Ayed said Egypt and Jordan have the same circumstances, but Cairo has taken strong measures of devaluating of the Egyptian currency and removing the subsidies on fuel.

“Jordan has taken several measures of imposing taxes and penalties against tax evaders, with the exclusion of the low-income . It also obtained a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as Egypt did. This loan means that the economy is able to recover,” he said.

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Jordanian ambassador to Egypt Ali al-Ayed in a round table held by Egypt Today on July 2, 2018 - Egypt Today/Karim Abdel-Aziz


“Our diplomatic mission in Egypt aims to develop and enhance cooperation between both countries in all fields [...] to increase the country’s exports to Africa and Europe,” he added.

Replying to a question whether Jordan thinks of importing natural gas from Egypt’s newly-discovered gas field of Zohr after gas import has suspended for eight years due to sabotage at the Jordanian-Egyptian gas pipeline, Al-Ayed said that Cairo and Amman have intensive cooperation in the energy field.

Ayed said that his country was encouraging and promoting Egyptian tourism among the Jordanian people amid the absence of European tourism bounding to Egypt, saying “the trade volume between both countries has reached $500 million, including 90 million to Jordan while the rest goes to Egypt.”

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