King holds trilateral summit with Egypt president, Iraq PM; reaffirms centrality of Palestinian cause

25 August 2020

His Majesty King Abdullah, Egypt President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, and Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi on Tuesday held the third trilateral summit between Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq, in Amman.

The summit, attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, covered expanding economic, trade, and investment cooperation, in service of shared interests and Arab causes.

Discussions at the summit, attended by senior officials from the three countries, also covered regional developments and means to bolster coordination and consultation between Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq on issues of mutual concern.

In remarks at the start of the summit, King Abdullah welcomed President El Sisi and Prime Minister Kadhimi to Jordan.

“Our meeting today is very important, in light of the current extraordinary conditions in the region and the world,” His Majesty said, stressing the importance of close coordination and joint action to deal with rapid developments in the region and foreign meddling attempts.

The Palestinian cause remains the core issue in the region, the King stressed, adding that Jordan continues to call for a two-state solution that ends the Israeli occupation and leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 lines.

His Majesty said the issue of food security will be the biggest challenge in 2021, which requires joining efforts and thinking outside the box.

The King also stressed the importance of coordination among the three countries in the coming months on issues of mutual concern.

For his part, Egypt President El Sisi expressed his country’s keenness to bolster cooperation and coordination among the three countries to counter challenges and find solutions.

“I agree with His Majesty on the importance of coordination and joining efforts to counter crises,” he added, noting the importance of advancing economic cooperation to benefit the three peoples and countries.

The president said Egypt is always ready to cooperate for development and progress, commending the deep-rooted ties among the three countries and calling for building on the outcomes of the past two trilateral summits.

President El Sisi said he also agrees with the King on the Palestinian cause and the importance of reaching a solution, based on the two-state solution, noting that this would have a positive impact on the entire region.

Iraq Prime Minister Kadhimi noted the deep-rooted ties between the three countries and his country’s commitment to the trilateral mechanism first launched in 2019 to increase coordination.

Instead of new wars and conflicts, the prime minister said the region needs solidarity to achieve the aspiration of its peoples towards stability, development, and a better life, calling for working to make peace.

Stressing Iraq’s support for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people’s right to statehood, Prime Minister Kadhimi said Iraq’s vision is based on avoiding conflict and seeking economic cooperation and integration with Jordan and Egypt by developing joint economic zones, as well as economic partnerships with other Arab countries

He added that Iraq looks to new avenues of economic, trade, and investment cooperation in energy, electricity, infrastructure, reconstruction, transport, and healthcare, noting that the geographic and historical bonds between the three countries provides the solid basis for building long-term economic partnerships.

In a joint communiqué released after the trilateral summit, King Abdullah, President El Sisi, and Prime Minister Kadhimi stressed the need to translate the strong strategic ties between the three countries into cooperation in vital sectors, such as electricity interconnection, energy projects, and a joint economic zone, while capitalising on each country’s potential to achieve an integration in resources, especially to deal with the implications of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on healthcare and food and economic security.

President El Sisi and Prime Minister Kadhimi commended His Majesty’s call for re-globalisation to reach better international integration and positive interdependence that invests in skills, capacities, and resources across borders, for the benefit of all peoples, leading to global solidarity and prosperity.

The communiqué said COVID-19 and its ramifications should not hinder the continuation of coordination and cooperation.

The three countries will focus on cooperation in the health, medical, educational, energy, trade, and investment sectors, with a focus on bolstering partnerships to counter the repercussions of the pandemic, according to the communiqué.

Discussions at the summit covered institutionalising the trilateral mechanism by establishing an executive secretariat with an annually rotating headquarters, the communiqué said.

The secretariat will be headquartered at Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates for a year, as of 25 August 2020, it added.

King Abdullah, President El Sisi, and Prime Minister Kadhimi also issued directives to hold a business forum on the sidelines of the upcoming meeting between the three countries’ industry and trade ministers, to enhance economic cooperation, according to the communiqué.

Discussions at the summit also covered regional and international developments, and efforts to resolve regional crises and bolster peace and security, the communiqué said.

King Abdullah, President El Sisi, and Prime Minister Kadhimi reaffirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause, stressing the need to reactivate efforts to achieve just and comprehensive peace that meets all the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, especially their right to an independent, sovereign, and viable state on their national soil, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Moreover, King Abdullah, President El Sisi, and Prime Minister Kadhimi stressed that resolving the conflict in accordance with international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative, in a manner that fulfils all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, is the only way to achieve just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the region, the communiqué added.

They noted the need to stop Israeli steps to annex Palestinian lands and any measures that undermine prospects to achieve just peace, or seek to alter the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites.

They also stressed the important role of the historical Hashemite Custodianship in safeguarding these holy sites and their Arab and Islamic character, according to the communiqué.

The communiqué said King Abdullah, President El Sisi, and Prime Minister Kadhimi noted the need to step up efforts to reach political solutions to crises in the region, especially in Syria, Libya, and Yemen, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, to guarantee the unity and independence of these countries, while safeguarding Arab national security and preventing foreign interventions that seek to undermine it.

The communiqué added that discussions also covered the issue of the Grand Renaissance Dam, with a focus on the water security of Egypt as integral to Arab national security, and the importance of reaching a just and balanced agreement, in accordance with international law, that safeguards the water rights of Egypt and Sudan.

The leaders also reaffirmed their support for Iraq in safeguarding its sovereignty, security, and stability, and its efforts to achieve the aspirations of its people, and bolster its victory over terrorism, according to the communiqué.

In addition, discussions addressed Arab relations with the wider region and the challenges facing the Arab world, with a focus on strengthening Arab national security and ending foreign meddling in internal Arab affairs, the communiqué said.