08/12/2008, 00.00
IRAQ - JORDAN
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Security, oil discussed on visit of King Abdullah, first Arab head of state in Baghdad

Iraqi prime minister al-Maliki calls it "a new page in relations between the two countries", while the king of Jordan talks about the duty of Arabs to support Iraq in its effort to guarantee security and reconstruction.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The king of Jordan, Abdullah II, has been in Baghdad since yesterday for the first visit of an Arab head of state since the American invasion in 2003. Scheduled for last month but delayed for security reasons, the king's visit, in the words of Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, "will open a new page in relations between the two countries, and contribute to maintaining stability and security in Iraq and in the entire region". "All Arab countries must support Iraq", the king of Jordan said for his part, renewing his "support for the Iraqi government in its efforts to guarantee security, stability, and reconstruction".

Abdullah's meeting with vice president Adel Abdel Mahdi served to emphasize the desire to resume bilateral relations, in the diplomatic, economic, and social spheres. Under the first aspect, Amman has stated that it has appointed an ambassador to Baghdad, to replace the chargé d'affaires who has led the Jordanian delegation since 2003.

Under the economic profile, it has been announced that there is a desire to promote exchange between private companies, and there has been talk of resuming supplies of Iraqi oil.

Although diplomatic sources have not referred to this yet, the two delegations are also believed to have examined the question of Iraqi refugees: Amman is hosting 450-750,000 people who have taken refuge in Jordan after fleeing the violence in Iraq.

It is to be noted, finally, that in its reporting on the visit, the Saudi channel Arab News pointed out that in 2004, King Abdullah warned against the Shiite movement that is aiming to extend itself beyond Iran and into Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

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