Egyptian gas supply to Jordan back to normal levels

The Egyptian natural gas supply to the Kingdom returned to the agreed-upon flow of 240 million cubic feet (mcf), Jordan and Egypt said on Thursday.

His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday met with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, who conveyed a letter from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which included an official invitation for the King to visit Egypt, a Royal Court statement said.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Qandil, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said that relations between the Kingdom and Egypt will never be hindered by any developments and will always be at their best.

“Our discussions were very constructive and we have mutual understanding over all issues,” he told reporters.

“The Egyptian side showed full understanding of our needs regarding the natural gas and promised to keep the gas flow in accordance with our joint agreement. For the past few days the gas flow rate was never less than 200 million cubic feet and today as we speak the rate is around 250 million cubic feet,” he said.

After a series of cuts, the Egyptian natural gas supply ended up with as low as 40mcf.

The premier was speaking after the 23rd meeting of the Joint Jordanian-Egyptian Higher Committee, during which discussions focused on the gas supply and Egyptian labourers in the Kingdom.

The committee decided to hold regular meetings for the joint technical teams to strengthen economic cooperation, they announced.

Ensour said the meeting was the first since 2009, adding that the two sides agreed to continue their encounters to address any issue that may surface in the future.

“Despite the challenges our own economy is facing and our local needs of natural gas, we will do our best to provide Jordan with its needs of natural gas and in accordance with our agreement,” Qandil said.

During his meeting with Qandil, His Majesty reiterated the importance of Egyptian-Jordanian relations, and said he was keen on bettering political and economic cooperation.

He directed officials to coordinate with their Egyptian counterparts to increase bilateral cooperation, so that it reflects positively on both countries and peoples.

Discussions also focused on regional developments, including the Syrian crisis.

King Abdullah said Jordan supports the solutions that could put an end to bloodshed and violence.

The King also talked about the circumstances surrounding the peace efforts and ways to benefit from the UN’s recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state.

He said that the recognition should be utilised to establish an independent, Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

HRH Crown Prince Hussein and Ensour were present at the meeting.

Qandil commended the King’s positive attitude towards Egypt and the Egyptians. He thanked the Monarch for his stance in support of Arab causes, especially the rights of the Palestinian people.

The Egyptian premier praised the constitutional and political reforms led by His Majesty in the Kingdom, the Royal Court statement said.

He also said that Egypt values Jordan’s attempts to better the relations between the two countries, and strengthen cooperation between them in the face of challenges.

Royal Court Chief Riyadh Abu Karaki, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Awad Khleifat, His Majesty’s Office Director Imad Fakhoury, Minister of Labour Nidal Katamine and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources and Minister of Transport Alaa Batayneh also attended the meeting in addition to Egyptian Minister of Labour and Migration Khaled Azhari, Minister of Oil Osama Kamal and Egypt’s Ambassador to Jordan Khaled Tharwat.

During Thursday’s press conference, Qandil, who arrived for the meetings earlier in the day, described his visit to the Kingdom and his talks with the government as fruitful, adding that Egypt understands the needs of the Jordanian economy and is willing to assist the Kingdom in any way possible.

“Our ties are very strong and we will have additional meetings at the ministerial level in order to reach a full understanding and cooperation at all levels with the result of our discussions crowned by an expected visit by His Majesty King Abdullah to Egypt soon to meet with his brother President Morsi,” he said.

With regards to Egyptian labourers, Ensour stressed that Jordan has been a destination for demographic developments that left an impact on its local labour market.

“We have nearly 250,000 Syrian refugees in addition to more than 300,000 Iraqis residing in the Kingdom since the 2003 war in Iraq,” he said.

“All this adds to the more than 900,000 Egyptian citizens who are welcome to stay. This obligates the government to take measures to regulate the labour sector effectively,” Ensour said.

He stressed that the campaign targeting illegal migrant workers was never aimed at the Egyptian workers who have contributed for decades in the renaissance and the progress of the country.

In an interview with Jordan Television, Qandil said the Jordanian and Egyptian ministers of labour have agreed on 11 points to rectify the situation of Egyptian workers in the Kingdom.

“In fact, what might have seemed like a campaign targeting Egyptian workers specifically in Jordan was only a misunderstanding,” he said, adding that the ministers of labour’s agreement will bear its fruits soon.

“We share our living with Jordan as much as Jordan does with us. But, because we understand what Jordan is going through, we have stopped all our supply agreements except with Jordan,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ensour said his talks with his Egyptian counterpart also touched on the Palestinian cause, which he described as the core issue for achieving peace in the Middle East, adding that the two sides have a common vision on the importance of unifying the Palestinian voice and reaching reconciliation between Palestinian rivals.

Source: The Jordan Times


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