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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 March 2021

Jordanian prime minister Al Khasawneh talks trade on Iraq visit

Both countries have been discussing deals in the energy sector, but no major progress has been made yet

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi receives the Jordan Prime Minister of Bisher Al Khasawneh.Courtesy Prime Minister of Iraq
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi receives the Jordan Prime Minister of Bisher Al Khasawneh.Courtesy Prime Minister of Iraq

Iraq and Jordan have agreed to further meetings to strengthen relations and boost co-operation.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawneh led a delegation in Baghdad on Thursday, meeting his Iraqi counterpart, Mustafa Al Kadhimi, a joint statement said.

No major deals have been signed between the two neighbouring countries but they agreed to continuing discussions on pending deals. Only two memorandums of understanding were signed on Thursday, in the fields of health, higher education and scientific research were signed.

Iraq has been discussing possible deals with Jordan and Egypt for months, mainly in the energy sector, but no major progress has been made yet.

Both sides agreed to hold ministerial meetings between the three countries to expedite preparing the joint projects in order to enhance economic cooperation, the statement said.

In September, Iraq signed an agreement with Jordan to import electricity to meet growing demand in the war-ravaged country and to reduce its reliance on Iran. But the deal is yet to be enacted.

Jordan has expressed willingness to renegotiate a 2019 deal to import Iraqi crude oil at preferential prices. The deal allows Jordan to receive 10,000 barrels a day, less than 10 per cent of the kingdom's consumption.

The statement added that both agreed to renew the deal after finalizing the new amendments, it added without giving details.

Iraq last year sent about 2.265 million barrels to Jordan, generating nearly $58.4 million, according to Iraqi Oil Ministry data.

Iraq sells its crude to Jordan with a discount of $16 per barrel from the price of Brent crude. An Iraqi oil official said Jordan is seeking to increase that discount, saying the new price is still under discussion.

More than 10 years ago, Iraq revealed a plan to build a 1-million-barrel capacity oil pipeline to export crude from Al Aqaba port. Of that, 150,000 barrels a day would supply Jordan's Zarqa refinery. But a spiralling security situation in Iraq and lack of cash delayed the project.

This month, Jordan’s Parliament endorsed Mr Al Khasawneh's government. The former diplomat was appointed by King Abdullah in October as prime minster to lead the country amid a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths.

Updated: January 28, 2021 07:39 PM

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