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June 30 2022 8:43 PM ˚
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Iraqi ambassador lauds Jordan-Iraq ties

Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan Haidar Al-Athari
Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan Haidar Al-Athari. (Photo: Handout)
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AMMAN — To Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan Haidar Al-Athari, Jordan is much like Iraq; he considers both countries home.

In an interview with Jordan News, Athari spoke passionately of the 16 years he lived in Amman. اضافة اعلان

“Ours is a story of the history of friendship between two friendly and neighboring countries with frequent level of exchanges, expanding scale of economic cooperation and trade, and increasingly deepened political mutual trust.”

He said that the “profound friendship and sentiments” between the Jordanian and Iraqi peoples are built on “solid and deeply rooted historical foundation.”

Stressing “comprehensive and practical cooperation on all levels,” the ambassador particularly lauded Jordan’s willingness to make Aqaba port available to Iraqis, to support the neighboring country.

“To us Jordan is lifeline.”

In the field of education for example, the ambassador said “up till now, almost 60,000 Jordanian students received education in Iraq, and now Jordan’s schools and universities host more than 24,000 Iraqi students.”

Jordan served as a safe haven for many refugees fleeing prosecution, particularly Iraqis and Syrians, and as such, according to the ambassador, Jordan is perceived as home by many Iraqis, and in return, Iraqis living in the Kingdom contributed to the Jordanian economy with more than $18 billion bank deposits during their stay.

During the pandemic, Athari said that Jordan offered “invaluable support”, and made it possible for some 3,500 Iraqis to return home during the lockdown onboard 25 planes, “which I personally arranged and supervised.”

The two countries’ cooperation did not come without challenges, Athari said, explaining that the pipeline project from Basra to Aqaba, which was agreed upon in 2013, was put on halt due to the many challenges the area faced, and is still facing, including several regional conflicts and political unrests, ongoing to this day.

“Nevertheless, the deepening bilateral exchanges and cooperation in fields including politics, economy, trade, education, and peace efforts, strengthen communication and coordination, and the future cooperation will only bring more benefits to the two countries and the two nations.”

On a personal note, Athari told Jordan News that the closeness he feels to Jordan and the Hashemites is partly because his family, like the Hashemites, is also a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad and that he is a Hashemites as well.

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