Jordan's King Abdullah II left Singapore for East Timor Thursday, June 21, after forging stronger political and economic ties with this affluent Southeast Asian republic during a two-day state visit.
Abdullah arrived Wednesday, leading a delegation that included businessmen and aides including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mohamed Halayk. The king met with Singaporean businessmen and called on President S.R. Nathan and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
The monarch called for cooperation in the areas of information technology, tourism, telecommunications, infrastructure and services.
At a luncheon hosted by Nathan on Wednesday, Abdullah said private sector initiatives and export orientation would "drive the engines of sustained economic and social growth" in Jordan.
Nathan in turn said he hoped the meetings would "enhance Singapore-Jordan economic co-operation and our mutual prosperity". He also expressed Singapore's commitment to provide human resource development and technical assistance to Jordan.
In remarks carried Thursday by Singapore's Straits Times, the king said that Jordan would take full advantage of its free trade agreements signed with the European Union, the United States and several Arab countries.
Abdullah is determined to turn Jordan into a regional technological center and hub for business, through the flagship Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ). Jordan hopes the project will attract six billion dollars in local and foreign investment by 2020.
The king officially concluded his Singapore visit with a dinner hosted by the Prime Minister Wednesday night. He will be visiting some 900 Jordanian peacekeepers stationed in East Timor before returning home. ― (AFP, Singapore)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)