(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Jordan hopes that its ongoing talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will lead to a strategic partnership to which both sides can contribute and from which both can benefit, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said.
In a seminar organised by the University of Jordan in cooperation with Columbia University on Saturday evening, Judeh spoke about the future of the relations between the Kingdom and the GCC member states, noting that the Kingdom and the council are exploring a broader scope of cooperation.
Jordan began accession talks with the six-member GCC last September, while Morocco is also on track to join the group. In December, the council established a 5 billion fund to support development in both Jordan and Morocco as part of a gradual path toward membership, denying rumours that the development fund was meant as an alternative to GCC membership.
"We have started a series of meetings between technical committees from both sides that had been set up late last year with the purpose of reaching common ground and visions of cooperation that the two sides need to work on in order to harmonise the legislative and administrative status [of the partnership] that should pave the way for building a strong and distinguished relationship," Judeh said in Saturday's lecture.
"Our goal at the end of those meetings will be an outstanding relationship where we can have what we are looking for in terms of securing constant support from the GCC, which eventually will help our economy, and at the same time we will be offering our expertise and potential to the GCC member states," the minister added.
He reiterated that the talks with the GCC have been going on since before the Arab Spring started, stressing that Jordan's request to join the GCC has been received with a warm welcome, but that it is still premature to predict the form this new relationship will take.
Judeh underlined that the Kingdom's security and stability amidst a politically changing region was one of the important incentives that encouraged the GCC to consider Amman's request, adding that for decades, Jordan has contributed to the stability and development of the Gulf region either by providing military training or human capital, with more than 120,000 workers currently employed in the GCC countries.
Meanwhile, international law expert Omar Jazi, who also spoke at the event, said the GCC is facing various challenges that motivated its members to consider expanding its geographic reach to include Jordan.
"This new approach by the GCC will need a comprehensive reshaping of their economic structure, which will take time to happen, but at the political level, I don't think Jordan's peace treaty with Israel could pose an obstacle due to the fact that several Gulf states already have economic cooperation with Israel," he noted.
Moreover, Jazi said, the growing threat of Iranian influence in the region was also a driving force for the GCC to agree to Jordan's request to join, adding that the Jordan Armed Forces are highly trained and qualified enough to help the GCC maintain military superiority over Iran.