MINISTER JUDEH: It’s the greatest pleasure to welcome my good friend Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia here in Jordan. We had the honour of being received in orders by his Majesty the King earlier, and the Foreign Minister also met with the Prime Minister, and today, just now at the Ministry, we had excellent bilateral discussions ranging from regional topics to ways and means of enhancing our bilateral relationship which come against the backdrop of excellent relations between our two countries over decades. Next year we will be celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations between Jordan and Australia. There are many visits that are taking place at technical as well as political economic levels.

We hope to continue our political consultations - we agree on almost everything and this is something that we take pride in. We discussed current efforts aimed at reviving the spirit of the peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis and we are in agreement that a negotiated two state settlement according to the national legitimacy and according to the parameters that are agreed upon is the only way to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. We always remind the world that we in Jordan are stakeholders because of our interest in all the holy sites, so we hope that the current efforts will produce continued negotiations to reach a settlement in that regard.

We discussed the Syrian situation, the Foreign Minister was kind enough to express her country’s appreciation for the burden that Jordan is shouldering in this regard, but we also discussed the sad scenarios for the future of Syria and the impact of regional stability and international stability also. And we also discussed many other regional and international issues, happy to say that we are always in agreement and always a pleasure to meet with our Australian friends and hope to continue this line also. Thank you again for your visit ma’am.

MINISTER BISHOP: Thank you Foreign Minister, thank you very much for your gracious hospitality today, it’s a delight to see you again but this time here in your country of Jordan. Australian and Jordanian relations are warm and longstanding.

But we are deeply concerned to hear of the situation involving your Ambassador in Libya and you have our deepest thoughts and prayers and concerns, and we hope that his positive fate will be known soon.

In terms of Syria, we had a very good discussion about the prospects in Syria but we in Australia recognise the burden that Jordan is currently carrying in terms of the number of refugees who are leaving Syria and coming to Jordan, and the number that you already have here. And this was part of the reason for my visit – first to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein and the Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and the Foreign Minister to talk about ways that we can broaden and deepen and diversify our longstanding friendship. We are natural partners; we have common interests, a common view of the world in so many areas.

But secondly I wanted to see for myself the consequences in Jordan of the terrible humanitarian situation in Syria. That is why Australia has already contributed about $110 million to the humanitarian effort in Syria and today, as I visited the UNHCR centre for registering refugees, we announced a further $20 million for the ‘No Lost Generation’ campaign being run by the United Nations focusing on the educational needs of the young Syrian refugees that are being hosted by your country so generously. We understand that the situation in Syria is not going to conclude any time soon so we want the people of Jordan to know that we back His Majesty and your Government and the work that you’re doing in supporting the Syrian refugees.

We also had a very good discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian situation. We both hope that there will be a negotiated two-state solution and we hope that there will be just and lasting peace in that region.

And there are so many other areas of common interest. We also discussed opportunities to enhance our trade and investment ties which are modest but have great potential, so hopefully with the number of bilateral visits that will take place over the next few months and years we will see what is already a strong relationship develop even further. So Foreign Minister, thank you very much for having me here and I look forward to your visit to Australia as soon as possible. 

MINISTER JUDEH: Thank you very much.

 - Ends - 

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