logo logo

Jordan, Iraq sign free-trade agreement

DPA | Fri, 04 Sep 2009

Jordan, Iraq sign free-trade agreement

Amman — Jordanian Prime Minister Nader Dahabi made a whirlwind visit Thursday to Baghdad, signing a free-trade agreement that Jordan hoped would serve as a catalyst for boosting trade with neighbouring Iraq, the official Petra news agency reported. Dahabi, who met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, expressed Jordan’s desire to establish "strategic ties" with Iraq, Jordan’s top trade partner for almost two decades.

Dahabi pointed out that exports between Jordan and Iraq almost doubled in the first six months of 2009 to 489 million dollars, from 262 million dollars in the first half of 2008.

"We aspire to see this figure doubled again when obstacles to the flow of goods and movement of people are removed," he said.

Dahabi pressed the Iraqi side to double its crude oil exports to Jordan from 10,000 to 20,000 barrels per day, saying the quantity could be increased in future when the oil pipeline between Kirkuk and Banias is repaired, replacing the current use of tanker trucks.

Jordan and Iraq signed an agreement in 2006 under which Baghdad pledged to supply the Hashemite kingdom with crude oil at preferential prices, but security problems so far prevented a systematic implementation of the accord.

Dahabi appeared to have failed to gain the release of 50 Jordanians currently held in Iraqi jails.

"We all know that the law should take its due course," he was quoted as saying at a joint press conference with al-Maliki.

He said Jordanian prisoners in Iraq were classified into three categories: terrorists, those who committed administrative violations and suspects.

"We have agreed that the files of suspects and those accused of committing administrative violations will be addressed as soon as possible," Dahabi said.

He said that he relayed to al-Maliki Jordan’s condemnation of all forms of terrorism in Iraq and any foreign intervention in Iraqi domestic affairs.

Dahabi reiterated Amman’s backing for national reconciliation in war-torn Iraq but said that all components of the Iraqi people should be involved in the political process.

 source: Earth Times