Media & Communication Directorate
Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)
King, Cameron discuss Syrian crisis, refugees emergency
Amman, 7 November 2012
His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron on bilateral cooperation and the challenges the Middle East is facing.
The Prime Minister said bilateral relations were excellent and underlined that Jordan is a close friend and ally of the UK, “with whom we co-operate closely.”
King Abdullah and the Prime Minister discussed the situation in Syria and agreed on the importance of stopping the violence and bloodshed and the urgent need for an agreement on a political transition to bring peace to the Syrian people.
The Prime Minister recognised Jordan’s concerns about the situation on its borders and reiterated the UK’s commitment to the security and stability of Jordan.
The King stressed that the territorial integrity of Syria and the unity of its people must be preserved, or the conflict will engulf the entire region with disastrous consequences.
The Prime Minister praised Jordan’s generosity and hospitality in hosting more than 200,000 Syrians, a majority of whom are in communities across the Kingdom and a minority in refugee camps. Cameron recognised the additional burden on the Jordanian economy. During his visit to the refugee camp at Zaatari, he announced a further UK donation to the international humanitarian relief effort of an additional £14 million, bringing the total UK contribution so far to £53.5 million. This assistance benefits Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, including Jordan, by helping to provide shelter, food, medicine and schooling. The Prime Minister emphasised that the UK is at the forefront of the international effort to help Syrians, both inside Syria and in the region, and urged other donors to offer further much needed support.
His Majesty briefed Mr Cameron on the milestones that Jordan achieved on its reform roadmap, as the country prepares to pilot parliamentary government after elections announced for January 23. The King said the next four years will be a water-shed in Jordan’s political history, with the upcoming parliament determining the government’s formation, and thus the policies to address Jordan’s socio-economic challenges, from further political reform to the energy crisis.
The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s support for His Majesty’s vision of a multi-party democracy in Jordan, while underlining that it is up to the Jordanians to decide on the pace and direction of reform. He welcomed the role of the newly-established Independent Elections Commission and noted that free and fair elections are an important step on the path of political reform. He stressed that reform is a long-term process and that it will take time to build the inclusive and representative democracy that Jordanians aspire to.
The Prime Minister expressed the UK’s willingness to support Jordan’s political and economic reform programme, including through the UK’s Arab Partnership Programme and its presidency of the G8 in 2013. He announced that the APP has provided funding, together with the Shell Foundation and the SME finance company GroFin to set up an Enterprise Centre to invest in SMEs. This initiative will leverage up to £30 million of investment in the private sector in Jordan.
The Prime Minister also announced the appointment of Baroness Morris of Bolton as the UK’s trade envoy for Jordan. She will help develop closer trade links and economic co-operation between the UK and Jordan.
Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania hosted a lunch banquet in honour of the British Prime Minister, who later concluded his two-day working visit to Jordan.