Iraq and Jordan signed a set of economic, political and security agreements following the arrival of a Jordanian government delegation in Baghdad on Monday (January 5th).
Jordanian Prime Minister Samir al-Rifai led the delegation, which included the deputy prime minister, the minister of state and official Jordanian government spokesperson, minister of interior, minister of foreign affairs, minister of energy, minister of transportation, minister of public works and housing, and the minister of major Jordanian projects.
The Jordanian delegation was welcomed by a number of Iraqi officials who described the meetings as a positive step for improving ties between the two countries.
When he met with the Jordanian delegation, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Iraq "seeks to develop its relations with its Arab and regional environment and with all countries around the world, based on mutual respect, common interests and non-intervention in internal affairs."
"Our country today is emerging from major challenges," al-Maliki said as he urged the Jordanian delegation to help Iraq with its reconstruction and infrastructure development efforts. "Therefore, we look forward to more cooperation between us in the fields of reconstruction, economy and oil. We also look forward to the activation of the work of the supreme joint committee between the two countries."
Al-Rifai said Iraq has witnessed major development. "Now it is on the path of building, reconstruction and establishing normal relations with the region. We are fully prepared to stand by its side in this framework."
Ali al-Dabbagh, the official Iraqi government spokesperson, said during a press conference that the two governments signed an agreement to construct a pipeline for transporting Iraqi crude oil to al-Zarqa oil refinery in Jordan, as well as an agreement to form a joint committee responsible for facilitating the entry of Iraqis to Jordan and extraditing prisoners between the two countries.
"In the upcoming stage, Iraq will need cooperation from friendly countries in the field of reconstruction, building and development of Iraqi infrastructure," al-Dabbagh said.
A number of Iraqi politicians said the Jordanian delegation's visit to Baghdad and the signing of the bilateral agreements was proof of Iraq's political recovery and its ability to provide security and stability across the country.
"The visit is considered an indicator of a new start for Iraq in its Arab, regional and world spheres," Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq told Mawtani.com. "It is also an indicator of the trust shown by other countries in what Baghdad has achieved over the past years on all levels."
"The two sides discussed a number of issues and there was consensus about ideas and proposals, especially concerning the security of Iraq, its sovereignty, reconstruction and investment," he said.
Iraqi military affairs expert Ali al-Ansari said that the visit "will achieve positive results in terms of security in Iraq".
"The two sides discussed ways to boost security cooperation, enhance border security, train Iraqi policemen in Jordan and introduce Iraqi criminal investigation officers to intensive workshops to train them to use modern equipment in this field," he said.
"Frequent visits by Arab and foreign delegations to Iraq made a good impression on Iraqis that the country is moving in the right direction," al-Ansari said. "It is also a message to al-Qaeda, telling them that the country is no longer alone and that the international community is standing behind it in its war for freedom and democracy."