(MENAFN - Jordan Times) His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday held talks with French President Francois Hollande on bilateral ties, regional developments, peace efforts and the events in Syria, in the two leaders' first meeting after the French president's election.
During the meeting in Paris, the King highlighted France's pivotal role at the international and European levels that can be used to press for a fair settlement of the Palestinian issue.
He called for intensifying efforts to bring the Palestinians and the Israelis back to the negotiating table to discuss all final status issues in order to arrive at the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, a Royal Court statement said.
The Monarch expressed concern over the accelerating developments in Syria and the rising violence in the country and the repercussions for the region.
He underlined the need to find a political solution for the crisis that would maintain the unity and stability of Syria and put an end to the bloodshed, stressing the Kingdom's support for Kofi Annan's mission to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
The two leaders also reviewed the effects of the Arab Spring on the future of the region and the economic challenges facing its peoples.
The King highlighted the steps taken by Jordan to achieve political, economic and social reforms, noting that the countdown has begun for the next parliamentary elections by the end of this year as the 2012 Elections Law went into effect earlier this week.
King Abdullah also congratulated Hollande on winning the presidential election, voicing appreciation for France's continuous support for the Kingdom to achieve sustainable development and implement mega-projects.
Hollande expressed his country's desire to strengthen partnership with Jordan in political, economic, academic, scientific and cultural fields, according to a statement posted on the French presidency's official website.
The French president praised the Kingdom's response to the people's demands for reform despite the difficult regional situation.
He commended the Kingdom's commitment to the peace process and its efforts to relaunch negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the French president condemned the bloodshed in Syria and voiced appreciation of Jordan's participation in the next Friends of Syria meeting, to be held in Paris on July 6.
He stressed his support for the Kingdom in carrying the burden of hosting thousands of Syrian refugees.
Hollande also commended Jordan's decision to assume co-presidency of the Union for the Mediterranean.
France is one of the major European countries investing in the Kingdom, with around 1 billion in direct investment in the fields of telecommunications, water and infrastructure.
Jordan and France on Tuesday signed an agreement, under which Paris will provide Amman with a 150 million euros soft loan to support the country's energy sector.
The agreement, signed between the government and the French Development Agency, supports Jordan's efforts to narrow the budget deficit and enhance the efficiency of the energy sector.
It is also in appreciation of Jordan's commitment to achieve economic reforms, the statement said.
In addition, the two countries' ministries of interior also signed an agreement to enhance security cooperation, while another agreement was reached on visa exemptions for diplomatic passport holders in both countries.
Also on Tuesday, the King met with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and discussed means to boost bilateral ties and regional developments.
During the meeting, the King highlighted the opportunities available to increase economic cooperation, with the participation of the private sector.
Talks also focused on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution.
The French premier stressed that his country will continue to support the Kingdom's economy.
King Abdullah also met with Christiane Kammermann, head of the Jordanian-French Parliamentary Friendship Committee at the French senate, and discussed several issues of mutual concern, particularly enhancing cooperation in parliamentary and legislative fields.