(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Security and stability in the Kingdom are two factors that should attract both investors and tourists, Ukrainian Ambassador to Jordan Serhiy Pasko said on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters on the occasion of Ukraine's 24th independence day anniversary, the envoy highlighted His Majesty King Abdullah's visit to Ukraine last week, noting that it achieved its objectives.
"His Majesty's visit to Ukraine opened new scopes of cooperation between the two countries and gave more impetus to strengthening bilateral cooperation at all levels. The visit was very successful as the two sides signed five agreements," Pasko said.
"During the visit, the King instructed the government to open a Jordanian embassy in Ukraine spurred by the distinguished ties between the two countries and the increasing cooperation. We hope that this will happen by the end of the current year or early next year," he said, adding that diplomatic relations between Amman and Kiev were established in 1992, a year after the former Soviet Union dissolved.
According to Pasko, more than 3,000 Jordanians are currently studying in Ukrainian universities and nearly 33 per cent of Jordanian physicians received their higher education in former Soviet republics and speak Russian.
In addition, more than 3,000 Ukrainian women are married to Jordanians and live in the Kingdom, he noted, adding that this has contributed to bridging the cultural gap between the two populations and helped enlighten both sides on the traditional characteristics of their respective societies.
Pasko said the two sides agreed to hold the second intergovernmental committee meeting in Amman in the fourth quarter of this year in order to follow up on what was achieved since the first meeting, which took place in Kiev in 2005.
The second meeting, which was supposed to be held in November last year and was postponed twice due to regional and local political developments, will be an opportunity for both countries to explore the potentials each side can offer the other and enhance two-way investments and joint projects.
During his meeting with senior Ukrainian officials last week, King Abdullah highlighted Jordan's mega-projects, such as the nuclear plant and the railroad project, to be implemented over the next few years and invited the Ukrainian private sector to take part in the Kingdom's development process, the diplomat noted.
"In 2008, the trade turnover between the two countries amounted to more than 1.15 billion, however, due to the global financial crisis the figure dropped by more than 50 per cent in 2010. We hope that it will exceed a target of 600 million by the end of the current year," he said, noting that during the first quarter of 2011 the trade volume stood at around 109 million, 26 per cent lower than in the same period of last year.
Although below aspirations, Jordan's investments in Ukraine are much bigger than the other way around, standing at around 3 million compared to 141,000.
Pasko expressed hope that these figures will increase in the years to come, as more companies from both countries are showing interest in each other's markets, noting that two Jordanian private sector firms are currently making concrete progress in their talks with the Ukrainian side.
"Jordan is very advanced in the pharmaceutical sector and Hikma Pharmaceuticals Company is considering investing around 100 million in the this sector in Ukraine; this company already has access to the EU and US markets and by starting its business it will have access to Eastern Europe," he said, noting that Hikma exported medicines worth nearly 6 million to his country last year.
Meanwhile, Pasko noted that unrest in Middle East led to a drop in the number of Ukrainian tourists visiting the Kingdom this year, adding that Jordan has many sites that are of religious significance to Ukrainians, especially the Baptism Site which is considered the second-most holy place after Jerusalem.
A medical conference will be held in Ukraine in September to which Jordanian physicians will be invited, according to the ambassador, who added that a Jordanian cultural event will be held on the sidelines of the event in order to promote the Kingdom's tourism potential.