AMMAN — Spain and Jordan enjoy strong ties, "with a high affinity in regional and global matters as fight against extremism and terrorism, food security and Alliance of Civilisations", Spanish Ambassador to Jordan Miguel de Lucas said on Tuesday.

He noted that the close ties between the two Royal families have greatly contributed to improving bilateral relations.

The first seven months of 2022 has seen an export value from Jordan to Spain worth $62 million, marking an increase of 74 per cent, the ambassador added, according to an embassy statement.

The ambassador noted that exports from Spain to Jordan reached a value of $233 million, with a yearly increase of 34 per cent.

He added that main Spanish imports are fertilisers (at 43 per cent), inorganic chemical products (potassium nitrates) (at 40 per cent) and aluminium and its manufactures (at 5 per cent), while Spain's exports include ceramic products, tiles and slabs (at 18 per cent), live animals, sheep and goats (at 9 per cent), essential oils, perfumery, perfumes and eau de toilettes (at 8 per cent).

He said that bilateral trade exchange is improving, "but there is still a job to be done".

On key areas for cooperation with Jordan, the ambassador said: "In 2020, a new framework was defined for Spanish Cooperation in Jordan with new priorities, resources and instruments for the period 2020-2024".

He noted that "one of the priorities is to reinforce Jordanian democracy through civil society, gender equality, decentralisation and justice", while also cooperating in the health, water and social protection fields.

"For the period 2017-2021, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development has disbursed around 26 million euros; half of them come from the Spanish Government, and the other half from the EU delegated cooperation," he noted.

Concerning the Palestinian cause, the ambassador stressed that Spain and Jordan have similar positions, as "both countries promote dialogue in order to restart negotiations".

"The clear goal of those should be the two-state solution that would facilitate a stable and lasting peace in the whole region. We firmly believe that this could be possible in the near future," he noted.

The ambassador added that both countries "reject any form of extremism that may disturb the pacifistic coexistence in our countries".

"Both countries fight against the violence, but insist on the idea that prevention through education and promotion of values is the key point in avoiding extremist outbreaks," he added.

Regarding Spain's support to Syrian refugees residing in Jordan, the ambassador stressed that "Jordan is an exemplary country in its attitude towards refugees from different backgrounds. This exemplariness has made Jordan a natural beneficiary of the ‘Masar’ programme of the AECID to accompany democratic governance processes in the Arab world".

He also said that within the framework of the EU Trust Fund for response to the Syrian crisis, called “Madad”, the AECID implements the component of the programme "Qudra 2" to improve the capacities of six local governments and relevant civil society organisations in the Mafraq governorate, for the provision of inclusive and transparent basic services and the strengthening of the stability and social cohesion.

Started in 2021, the AECID project is worth 22 million euros under the title "Improving support to the public health system in Jordan for Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens: Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases through primary care”.

On tourism figures, the ambassador said that the number of tourists coming to Jordan from Spain in 2021 totalled around 7,000, 82 per cent less compared with 2019 figures.

"In the first six months of 2022, tourists coming from Spain to Jordan totalled 13,000; this figure is below pre-pandemic levels.

He added that the goal is to achieve pre-pandemic figures, or even to surpass them, as soon as possible.

On cultural cooperation, the ambassador noted that the Spanish national football team is playing a friendly football match with Jordan on November 17.

"It is the first match between two teams ever. Therefore, we will witness a great fiesta of Hispano-Jordanian friendship," he added.

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