Russian President Vladimir Putin conducted negotiations with King of Jordan Abdullah II during his official visit to the country today. The talks were mainly devoted to the conflict in the Middle East. “Russia is a member in the group of the four international mediators. We definitely intend to use our influence in the region, our special relations with Arab friends and Israel to contribute to the regulation of the conflict,” Putin said. The King of Jordan agreed with the Russian President and said that Russia always played an important role to stabilize the situation in the war-torn region. Abdullah II continued with a suggestion to discuss questions of the economic cooperation between Jordan and Russia. Jordan, a small country in the Middle East, enjoys the reputation of “financial Mecca” - it is one of the most successful countries in the region from the financial point of view.
It is worthy of note that the commodity circulation between the Russian Federation and Jordan made up only $58.4 million in 2006. There is a variety of opportunities for the two countries to develop their mutual ties at this point. It particularly goes about the development of the tourist industry. Luxurious resorts in Jordan enjoy great popularity among citizens of Egypt and Israel. However, Russians hardly ever consider Jordan in their vacation plans. In addition, Russian companies are ready to participate in the development of the railway and pipeline networks of Jordan, as well as in the construction of hydroelectric power plants and oil-processing enterprises.
As a matter of fact, there is no oil industry in Jordan. The country receives oil from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Needless to say that Iraq experiences immense problems with the processing and transportation of oil against the background of the ongoing war. Due to the absence of the bank system in Iraq, many foreign states use Jordanian banks for their financial operations on the Iraqi territory.
It brings up the idea that Putin intends to establish Russia's presence in the oil industry of Iraq through Jordan, taking into consideration the fact that the USA will never let Russia operate in Iraq even if US troops eventually leave the country. Moscow also hopes that the Arab world will increase its investments in the Russian economy through Jordan-based banks which are less dependant on strategic partners from the USA (e.g. the Saudi bank system).
In addition to the subject of foreign investments, Russia and Jordan also signed the joint statement about the strengthening of friendship and cooperation, an agreement about the mutual protection of investments. To crown it all, the two countries agreed to establish a business committee.
The biggest commercial deal during Putin’s visit to Jordan was signed between Russia’s defense enterprise Oboronprom and Jordan’s King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau. The contract is connected with the delivery of KA-226 helicopters to Jordan.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov