Saudi Crown Prince makes historic visit to Jordan

Political, economic issues will figure high in talks

His Majesty King Abdullah receives Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Amman on Tuesday. (Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah’s summit meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who arrived to Amman on Tuesday, will focus on consolidating political ties and promoting economic integration to face regional and global challenges. اضافة اعلان

The summit precedes a planned visit by US President Joe Biden to the Middle East, with stops in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which maintained lukewarm relations with Biden following his electioneering pledge to make the oil-rich kingdom an international “pariah”.

But Russia’s war on Ukraine caused a record rise in fuel prices internationally, especially in the US, forcing Biden to reverse his stance and schedule a visit to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Ambassador Nayef Al-Sudairy said Bin Salman’s visit underlines the close relations between the two neighboring countries and contributes to achieving the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 and Jordan’s Economic Modernization Vision, Al-Mamlaka TV reported.
The visit promotes the concept of common security and joint destiny,
Senate Speaker Faisal Al-Fayez said the visit is “highly significant” because it aims at “unifying efforts and working together to face the ramifications of Russia’s war in Ukraine on the Arab nation and the Arab food security”, according to Al-Mamlaka.

“The visit promotes the concept of common security and joint destiny,” Fayez said. He stressed that Jordan “considers Saudi Arabia its strategic depth and Saudi Arabia regards Jordan its strategic depth.”

Mohammad Al-Momani, a former minister of state for media affairs, told Jordan News that the summit will tackle two main facets: political and economic.

Economically, discussions will focus on investments, including in the transportation and energy sectors.

Politically, a host of issues will be discussed, such as the fate of Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking and giving a significant push to the peace process, regional instability, food security, Iran’s regional behavior, and the war on terror.

“Jordan and Saudi Arabia will coordinate their stances and exchange ideas on these matters ahead of the planned visit of the US president to the region,” Momani said. “Jordan is committed to the national security of the Arab nation.”

He stressed that Jordan’s relations with its eastern neighbor is “at its best”.

“Jordan sees eye-to-eye with many of the Saudi positions, and the Saudis understand the strategic importance of Jordan,” he explained.

Political Science professor Jamal Al-Shalabi described the visit of the Saudi crown prince as “historical” and follows a “critical period of mystery and unappreciation between the two countries”.

“The visit is crucial because it will dissipate all of the differences and points of views and open a new page built on economic cooperation and uniting their political positions regarding regional and global issues,” Shalabi told Jordan News.

“Now, the Palestinian issue, and the Hashemite custodianship are on the agenda of talks”, he said. He predicted that the Saudi crown prince will “confirm that Saudi Arabia respects the Hashemite role in Jerusalem.”
Jordan sees eye-to-eye with many of the Saudi positions, and the Saudis understand the strategic importance of Jordan,
He said other issues expected to figure high in the talks include the Iranian threat in the region and ways to rehabilitate Syria back to the Arab League, “so Iran would no longer have a strong influence in Syria”.

Political analyst Labib Kamhawi told Jordan News that the visit leans towards economic cooperation, than politics.

“It would be economic more than political, but now the political dimension is gaining strength,” he said. “The stakes are too high, the issues involved are too hot to be handled by one state, so the need to regroup the Arab position and defend Arab interests” prompted the visit before the Jeddah summit with President Biden.

The crown prince’s visit to Jordan “is long overdue”, Kamhawi said. “Jordan has been seeking this visit for some time,” he added.

He said Jordan is worried that the American plans in the region could play against Jordanian interests. “Therefore, Jordan will be seeking the support of Saudi Arabia and Egypt to minimize the effect of the American plans to initiate military cooperation between Israel and some Arab states,” he said.

“The Arab heads of state are worried that the Americans might cross some red lines in putting pressure on Arab regimes to cooperate with Israel’s military, and I believe that the Arab regimes involved would not like to see themselves as partners with an Israeli military coalition,” Kamhawi said.

He said the military cooperation between some Arabs and Israelis already exists, but the “Americans are trying to make it official and public”, and this “makes the Arab heads of state feel uneasy.”

Political analyst Mohammad Al-Zawahreh told Jordan News that the crown prince’s visit would revive the Jordanian-Saudi relations that were “stiff for some time”.

“The visit will have a positive impact on diplomatic relation and reviving a socio-economic collaboration,” he projected.

Zawahreh maintained that the visit will have an economic dimension, where the 2030 Saudi Vision will support the Economic Modernization Vision of Jordan, since the Saudi vision covers the whole region, not only Saudi Arabia.

“The Saudi agenda goes along the Jordanian vision, and Jordan could be part of Saudi projects in the future,” he said.

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