Jordanian and Palestinian leaders to visit the Dominican Republic

Over the weekend, King Abdullah of Jordan and Queen Rania welcomed President Leonel Fernandez and First Lady Margarita Cedeno at the Royal Palace in Al-Hommar. Fernandez is on a Middle Eastern tour that includes Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

King Abdullah of Jordan (R) and Queen Rania

The Hispanic President’s three-day visit included talks between King Abdullah that Jordanian news reports say focused on enhancing bilateral ties, especially in the fields of economics and investment, according to press reports from Jordan. In Jordan, the President and his delegation met with trade and economic sector representatives and business leaders to explore investment opportunities in both countries.

During the visit, a memorandum of understanding was signed to boost academic and research cooperation between Jordan and the Dominican Republic.

As reported in the Jordan press, the two leaders held talks on the Middle East and relations between Jordan and the DR, stressing their keenness to forge closer bilateral cooperation ties, mainly in the political, economic, business and tourism sectors.

A statement from the Jordanian government said that Fernandez and his wife were met by Senate President Taher Masri, followed by sessions with Minister of Environment Taher Shakhshir, senior officials and high-ranking officers.

On Saturday, Fernandez and his wife visited the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan. Center director Nawaf Wasfi Tall presented a briefing about the center and the research it conducts in the fields of regional security, political reforms and local and Arab surveys. This was followed by a discussion about issues related to democracy and reform as well as the latest regional developments.

As reported in the Jordanian press, the talks also dealt with the situation in the Arab countries in the region and the Middle East peace process in general. King Abdullah urged the international community to help the Palestinians and the Israelis to return to the negotiating table and address all final status issues towards establishing an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. The King thanked the Dominican Republic and Latin American nations for their stances in support of the Palestinian right to statehood.

Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso said the DR had a great interest in the Palestinian issue as well as supporting the need to reach a just and permanent peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

This as Jordan’s King with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority told Fernandez they hoped to visit the DR in the near future as part of the Latin leader’s push to strengthen commercial, cultural and diplomatic ties with the region.

Listin Diario says that the visits will take place in September and October this year. Fernandez, himself, described his visit to the area as “historic“, and said that he was pleased with the results. The Jordan Times reported that Fernandez highlighted the common factors shared by the DR and Jordan, especially with regard to the democratic drive and economic openness.

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority

On Monday, Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit discussed ways of bolstering bilateral relations as well as the latest regional developments with Fernandez. Bakhit stressed the importance of the visit to Jordan as a means of boosting bilateral ties. He mentioned the need to increase cooperation in the fields of trade, tourism and investment between the two countries, emphasizing the importance of Jordan’s location as a gateway to other regional markets, as reported in Jordan Times. Fernandez was on a three-day visit to Jordan.

Bakhit invited the Dominican Republic to participate in the International Tourism Conference that Jordan is hosting in September. Currently, the tourism sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product stands at around 21%.

The Prime Minister and President Fernandez attended the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries’ ministries of foreign affairs to develop political coordination between both sides.

During a session at the Amman Chamber of Commerce, Fernandez gave a long talk on the advantages of investing in the Dominican Republic in the areas of agriculture, alternative energy, tourism, infrastructure, electronics, manufacturing and technological development.

In a bid to boost trade, on Monday the Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dominican Republic’s Centre for Export and Investment to enhance commercial cooperation.

ACC president Riyadh Saifi invited Dominican businesspeople to visit Jordan and become acquainted with investment opportunities and learn about Jordanian products so as to increase the joint volume of commercial exchange.

During the visit, Fernandez and the First Lady visited the site of the baptism of Jesus Christ and other historical and archaeological attractions in the area.

The Jordan Times also reported that they reviewed the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, stressing the need to reach a just and viable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

After their visits to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, the Dominican President arrived in Israel with his wife, Margarita, and his entourage.

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